Jose Mourinho’s comments on Mikel Arteta have re-emerged after Arsenal’s 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth.
On Saturday the Gunners eased past Bournemouth, courtesy of goals from Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Ben White and Kai Havertz, with the latter netting his first-ever goal for the club.
The result keeps Arsenal unbeaten in the Premier League this season and moves them to within a point of league leaders Manchester City, who fell to a surprise 2-1 defeat at Wolves.
Indeed, across his four years in charge of Arsenal, Arteta has transformed the club from top-four hopefuls to genuine title contenders.
And despite a topsy-turvy first 18 months in charge of the Gunners, former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho foresaw that Arsenal would rise to the top of English football under Arteta.
Indeed, in December 2020, Spurs, then coached by Jose Mourinho, eased to a two-goal victory over their north London rivals. That result kept Tottenham top of the pile and subjected Arsenal, remarkably, to 15th.
At the time, that result heaped pressure on Arteta, who despite winning the FA Cup, had guided Arsenal to an underwhelming eighth-placed finish in his debut half-season.
Despite Arteta’s woes at the time, Jose Mourinho insisted the Spaniard would find success at Arsenal.
The Portuguese boss said after that edition of the North London Derby: “I want to give good words and congratulations to Mikel because he gave us a very difficult game.
“Tactically, they are very good, they were very well organised, they were building with four, defending with five. Then in the second half, they tried to find triangles on the side and they gave us problems, problems that we managed to resolve because the players at this moment we have a good tactical culture.
“And even above that, they have an incredible spirit, but they gave us problems because they are a good team and he (Arteta) is a good coach. But we deserved to win, I guess, because of two amazing goals.”
“I can imagine tomorrow there, that the headlines will be about them not being in a good position on the table. But I believe with these players, with Mikel, Arsenal will be Arsenal again.”
Three years on, Mourinho’s words seem somewhat prophetic, with Arsenal likely to go toe-to-toe with City in the title race for the second year in succession.