David Moyes will forever be grateful for Mikel Arteta’s contributions to the success he enjoyed as Everton manager.
The Gunners boss spent six and a half seasons playing under Moyes after arriving at Goodison Park from Real Sociedad and helped the team to a surprise top-four finish in his first season in 2005.
He left in 2011 to join Arsenal where he went on to become captain, and Moyes believes he always showed the potential to develop into a successful manager.
“I think he (Arteta) knew how he wanted his football to be played,” the Hammers boss said before pitting his West Ham side against Arsenal on Sunday. “More than ever, he’s probably had a great education from Pep (Guardiola), he’s been able to go and work under one of, if not the best, managers in the world.
“It’s a great indication and he will see a lot of things and he has got his own thoughts as well. He’s been a very talented player and he’s been able to put over things about his playing style which he wants in his own team.
“I think Mikel was always someone who had his own thoughts and was a very good player. He was a great player for me at Everton and helped us take Everton up the league and move Everton up as a football club. I will always be grateful for how well he did for me at Everton.
“It’s looked as if they (Arsenal) are quite relentless as well, they are going away and playing very well at a lot of big clubs. We know we’re in for a tough game.”
The league leaders’ advantage over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League could have been cut to three points by the time they walk out to face the Hammers at the London Stadium, and defeat would mean the champions could catch Arsenal with victory against them at the Etihad Stadium on April 26 while still holding a game in hand.
Moyes was asked whether he would prefer to face a side not so in need of points as he looks to steer West Ham away from the relegation zone in the season’s final weeks.
“I think everybody needs the points, for some reason,” he said. “Everybody is chasing something, whether you’re trying to win the league or trying to be in Europe or trying to avoid being at the bottom.
“I think there’s very few games where I think you play teams who don’t need the points, I think everybody really works towards getting the win.”
The Hammers have taken six points from their last three games to pull three points clear of the bottom three and climb to 14th, though that run includes a 5-1 defeat to Newcastle in their last home outing, a match that was littered with defensive errors for Moyes’ side.
The manager said he is hopeful that victory against Fulham last Saturday, as well as the 1-1 draw earned in the first leg of their Europa Conference League quarter-final against Gent on Thursday, will have helped vanquish lingering demons from the humbling by Eddie Howe’s side.
“I don’t think we’ll have many memories from the Newcastle game,” he added. “I think we will probably think of more positive games where we’ve done better at home.
“In the main, we have done very well at home. Hopefully, we can do that again, show exactly what we’re about. I said at the time I think it was a bit of a freak and let’s hope it was.”