Riyad Mahrez explains Mikel Arteta was ’emotional’ swapping Man City for Arsenal

Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez scored against his former club in a 3-1 win on Sunday but said it was strange to play without assistant-manager Mikel Arteta on the bench.

The Spaniard watched from the stands as Arsenal ground out a 0-0 draw against Everton at Goodison Park the day after he was appointed Unai Emery's successor on a three-and-a-half year contract.

City came from a goal down to beat Leicester at the Etihad and Mahrez said Arteta had been emotional in his departure in the preceding days.

"Mikel was an important member of staff so it was a bit emotional for him to go but he had to take his chance and we are happy for him," said the Algerian.

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"It was a bit strange at the beginning [playing against Leicester] but we did well and we managed to come back. First half we were very good and in the second half we kept the ball well.

"I don't know if it was one of my best games but when the manager starts me I try my best to help the team to win."

City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne said: "It was a hard game, very open. We pushed all the way.

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"I think defensively we were good – there was a lot of pressure on the ball – we didn't let Leicester play at all. Leicester did go ahead but that was the only chance they had.

"We have already played lots together and this season we have done well together. One v one Riyad is one of the best wingers in the league so I know I can trust him."

Arsenal goalless was the first time they had kept a clean sheet since October and former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy says Arteta will have his work cut out to turn the club's fortunes around.

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"A lack of experience wouldn’t be a barrier to success in some jobs, but might be for this one," Murphy wrote in his Daily Mail column.

"Arsenal’s predicament is such that it’s a big risk to ask a novice to transform a poor and imbalanced squad, to get them competing at the top again.

"I’m all for engaging in a long-term plan but most clubs panic if the short-term gets sticky. Arsenal have the clout to attract top coaches from around the world so it’s a gamble to choose Arteta when even Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola would struggle with the current players."

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