“I was celebrating in the dressing room when I heard it was Manchester City next,” the manager said. “Obviously that’s a team I know very well and we have a hard game in store.”
As much as Arteta didn’t like being pitted against the club where he spent three seasons as assistant to Pep Guardiola, the defending champions in the competition will be annoyed at having to face the north Londoners in the next round.
Arteta has transformed Arsenal into a team that can master the big occasions, as City discovered in last season’s FA Cup semi-finals.
Liverpool are happy to see the back of them. Having dominated the 3-1 league victory at Anfield on Saturday only to be thwarted by Bernd Leno four days later, Jurgen Klopp has spelled out how difficult it is to face Arteta’s side.
The Merseysiders had lost to Arsenal at the Emirates in the league late last season and also surrendered the Community Shield to the Gunners.
“It is the third time in about eight weeks we have played against the best team in Europe,” Arteta pointed out and even when being a distinct second best at Anfield earlier in the week, Arsenal were competitive and remained a threat on the break.
They are defensively resolute, have more self-belief and can be potent on the counter.
It will be interesting to see how Arteta sets up against City. He adopted an approach of containment against Liverpool, which reduced Arsenal’s offensive capabilities.
Guardiola’s juggernaut, however, have a glass jaw in defence and have proven to be susceptible to high-energy counter-attacking as evidenced in their 5-2 defeat to Leicester.
Arsenal are sure to be braver against City and will likely replicate their blueprint of stifling then stunning them as was the case at Wembley in July.
The Etihad outfit have colonised the League Cup in recent seasons, edging them towards becoming the most successful club in the tournament’s history.
With seven victories, they are one short of Liverpool’s record. Matching that record will become that much harder with Arsenal as City’s next hurdle.