Arteta or Lampard?

Tomorrow brings an intriguing clash not just between Arsenal and Chelsea, but between the two youngest managers in the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta, who will be in charge for only his second game, is 37 years old. Frank Lampard is 41 and will be sending out a Chelsea team for only the 29th time.

So here’s a question to get us in the mood for tomorrow’s fixture: which of these two young coaches do you feel in your gut is most likely to have a successful career in management?

Let’s have a very quick look at their CVs:

Frank Lampard

Lampard was born into a footballing family, the son of Frank Lampard Snr who played left back for West Ham from 1967-1985 and the nephew of Harry Redknapp, the well known former Tottenham manager and amateur accountant.

After starting his career at West Ham, Frank Jnr joined Chelsea in 2001 and went on to become a mainstay of the most successful Blues team in decades, winning three league championships, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League. Not a bad haul.

His style of play was as a hard-grafting box-to-box midfielder with a particular eye for goal. His knack for scoring from deflected shots was so effective that pundits began to wonder if he was doing it on purpose.

As a player Lampard worked under some very successful managers including Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez.

After retiring as a player he started his coaching career as manager of Derby County in the Championship, where he guided them to a sixth place finish and a place in the play-offs in the 2018-19 season. They lost in the play-off final to Aston Villa and Lampard was snatched up by Chelsea in the close season.

In this, his first season in charge of the Blues, he has a record of Played 28, Won 14, Drawn 5, Lost 9, with a win rate of 50%.

Mikel Arteta

Born in San Sebastian, Spain, Arteta played with Barcelona’s youth set-up but never made the first team and signed for Rangers in the Scottish Premier League in 2003, winning the double in his first season. He moved to Everton in 2005 where he stayed for six years. He was a fan favourite at the Toffees and widely considered to be the classiest player in the team.

In 2011 he joined Arsenal where he stayed for five years, playing in a more withdrawn role in front of the defence than he had at Everton. As at Everton, he quickly became a highly valued player by the fans who especially loved his immovable Action Man hair.

His honours include the FA Cup with Arsenal, that Double in Scotland and an Intertoto Cup win while on loan from Barcelona at Paris St Germain.

After hanging up his boots Arteta was offered three career opportunities: to head up the Arsenal Academy, to join Mauricio Pochettino’s coaching set-up at Totteringham or to become assistant coach at Man City under Pep Guardiola. Obviously the first and third options were the only ones in play, since no Arsenal man would dream of heading to the N17 Toilet Bowl, and in the end Arteta plumped for Man City.

In his time at the Etihad he established himself as the right hand man of Guardiola and became highly valued by Pep and the senior team at City.

So there you have it.

Lampard had a more successful playing career than Arteta and already has quite a bit more managerial experience. However, Arteta has spent three years learning from the best and most innovative coach of the last decade.

There is one other aspect to take into account: call it “demeanour” or “the X factor”. It’s that special something that makes winners out of people. Arsene Wenger had it, so too Alex Ferguson. For all his faults Jose Mourinho has it, as does Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola has it in spades.

It can probably best be described as a kind of moral toughness and certainty: the refusal to accept anything but the best and the conviction to believe that you know how to achieve the best.

I’d say the jury is out on Lampard in that regard. My suspicion is that he might be too nice a guy to really be a top, top manager.

With Arteta, the jury hasn’t even been selected, never mind going out. But there is something about the way he has handled himself in his interviews since being appointed head coach at Arsenal that hints at a steely determination to succeed.

My gut instinct is that Arteta may have a bit more Ingredient X than Lampard, but that’s easily put down to my inherent bias as an Arsenal supporter.

Time will tell, starting tomorrow.

What do you think?



30 Responses to Arteta or Lampard?

  1. LB says:

    I don’t think you have shown inherent bias at all suggesting that Arteta has more ingredient X factor than Lampard and that comes from a fair, open minded neutral on the subject 🙂

  2. RA says:

    Afternoon, Rocky, 😁

    I would not like to become repetitively boring but you are a real star producing wonderful Posts with the metronomic ease of a chicken laying eggs for breakfast.

    Thank you, to both you and the chicken. 😳

  3. Rasp says:

    ‘Amateur accountant’ … priceless.

    Thank you once again Rocky. I’m delighted we chose Arteta over Ancelotti. Will he turn out to be more successful than Lampard? … I hope he will, and almost certainly having to work with a tighter budget. I like Lampard though and I do expect him to do well. It wouldn’t surprise me if both spend a long time in their tenure.

    Mikel is not trying to turn us into Man City MkII straight away …. he’s just trying to get the best he can out of those available whilst already he’s having to cope with the loss of significant players through injury.

    He’s clearly very intelligent. My only fear was that he wouldn’t connect with the players at the level your list of current top level managers … but already that concern has been allayed. He was very active on the touchline v Bournemouth and interacted with the players and the away fans well after the game.

  4. RA says:

    In your Post, Rocky, you mention two of the managers I have long disliked, in Maureenhio and Sir Red Nose, along with other more acceptable managers, where you referred to ‘the X Factor’ they had/have as ‘probably best described as a kind of moral toughness and certainty’.

    In writing your current masterpiece, is it possible that you might have chosen ‘ mental toughness’ (which is often mentioned as a prerequisite for successful football management, in the blog world) as otherwise, I think it could be argued that the pair of them have left no stone unturned in achieving success, and ‘morals’ form no part in that? 😉

  5. RA says:

    Hi Rasper,

    I thought the Rock was being a trifle hard on ‘Arry by referring to him as an ‘amateur accountant.

    To be fair, in the trial, it soon became obvious that it was the dog who was guilty, by opening an account for himself in Spain.

    Bloody dogs — always burying things – bones, more bones and the odd £1m or so. 🙄

  6. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders, George Graham was hung out to dry for his financial chicanery … but ‘appy ‘arry, the peoples’ favourite wide boy got off scot free in the courts.

  7. RA says:

    As I said, it was the dawg wot dun nit, Rasper. 😀

  8. Pat7 says:

    Though I feel Lampard will do well from his education and success – he’s definitely a winner, I suggest Mikel will out-perform him as a manager. He’s played in Spain, Scotland and England, was obviously mature beyond his years from an early age (as Poch refers to) and became captain of the two clubs he spent any time at. He made things happen as a player by manager liaison in this role always with an interest in management.
    We’ll see which way it goes but I’m confident and his first interview onward proves he is! 🙂

  9. RockyLives says:

    Thanks Redders
    If you’ll permit I’d like to stick with my use of “moral toughness” rather than “mental toughness.”
    I think most top footballers and managers have a fair degree of mental toughness. They need it to get to the top of the tree in a very competitive world.
    Players in particular have always had to endure the criticism of fans (opposing ones and, even worse, their own) and the levels of criticism and hate have magnified many times over in the age of social media. You don’t survive that unless you’re “hard in the heed” as the Scots would say.
    What I mean by “moral toughness” is a sense of having a bullet-proof idea of how things should be and of what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s usually allied with a strong element of judgmentalism and intolerance of dissent.
    For people who have this quality, it does not mean that their moral compass will be pointing in the same direction as yours and mine or be moral in the simple ‘good/bad’ way, but rather that they are unusually motivated by their own powerful sense of what is right and wrong behaviour.
    For example I could never be a successful footy manager because, quite apart from all the other obvious impediments (eg knowing naff all about football), I am cursed by being able to see and sympathise with the other fellow’s side in any disagreement and am, therefore, far too much of a compromiser.
    There are times and places when compromisers like me are what’s needed, but being the top man in a Premier League club is not one of them.

  10. RockyLives says:

    Ah, Rosie the dog.

    Poor creature must have been mortified when she was outed as the real brains behind the whole Redknapp enterprise.

  11. RockyLives says:

    You reflect my thoughts exactly.

    I don’t know quite what it is about those first few media outings from Arteta, but they’ve left me feeling strangely optimistic about our prospects with him in charge.

  12. RA says:

    I see that, Rocky, and if I were you, I would not compromise on the original word usage either.
    Umm – Lordy, Lordy, I may have inadvertently blown your cover there.

    But, no, your explanation was fair enough — of course, as a non-compromiser myself, my left eyebrow has arched in a delightfully disdainful way, and my long pointy nose has wrinkled in such a way that I must declare ———- It’s War!!

  13. RockyLives says:


    It’s war?

    Hmmm… yes… I see your point.

  14. RA says:

    It seems that Xhaka’s wish to move back to Germany is moving closer, with rumours that we are likely to sign A Rabbit from Juventus to replace him. Wassup Doc?

  15. RA says:

    If it’s OK with you, Rocky, I am free at about 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve for a jolly good War, altho I must be home by 10 p.m., otherwise the flat owner, Big Brenda, will lock me out, even tho I have explained you will be cross.

  16. RockyLives says:

    Could we make it 6pm Redders? I usually have my cocoa at 8.30pm.

  17. RockyLives says:

    It may be all well and good that Xhaka and Big Bertha Berlin have agreed personal terms.

    But what if Big Bertha refuses to pay us what we would consider to be a fair price for Mr Granit?

    Redders, is Big Bertha related to Big Brenda? A sister perhaps?

  18. RA says:

    You’re a hard negotiator, Rocky, but I can probably reach a gentleman’s agreement with you, if you will accept Sue as my stand in?

    I know, I know – she is a little minx, and your knee will take a terrible beating – but, well — that’s war.

    I presume a sub off the bench is OK?

    Got to go and prepare for War.

  19. RockyLives says:

    Preparations already under way.

    GoonerB has promised to send camels.

  20. RA says:

    Funny you should ask that, Rocky, because Big Bertha is Big Brenda’s mum, and thinks Xhaka is gorgeous and rumours have it that Rabbit is Big Bren’s cousin. I think.

  21. RA says:

    Rocky – umm – I am not sure how to break the news to you — oh, well, to hell with it — that well known GoonerB blogger IS a camel!!!

  22. Sue says:

    Knee???!!! 😂😂😂 I’m not an oompa loompa hahaha!!

  23. RA says:


    I have to go — but as You and GoonerB are substitutes for me and Rocky — I don’t want you to be too rough on GB — camels are very sensitive, and will not be happy to lose to a feminine, female personage, so win gently!!

    Chat tomorrow. 😉

  24. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Rocky. I am going to be fair and state my true feelings without bias, and that is that I think both will be regarded as 2 of the best managers over the next few years and could both be regarded as being in that elite bracket. I obviously hope that Mikel shades is as the best of the two though.

    I think Lampard will be the next great English manager, and England haven’t really had one of the highest international regard since Robson and Venables. Mikel I hope will come to be regarded as being in the same league as Guardiola or Klopp, becoming one of the best and most innovative managers of the next generation, and the reward for this, I hope, is that he returns us to being considered one of the top reams and clubs in the world.

  25. GoonerB says:

    RA, “GoonerB is a camel”? Stop all that before you give me the hump 🙂

  26. LBG says:

    Arteta needs a committed Emirates crowd behind him and the team tomorrow to beat Chelski. Get behind them and COYG.

  27. RockyLives says:

    I think the crowd will be well up for it tomorrow.

  28. Sue says:

    Only just seen the Puki goal which was chalked off…. offside? What exactly was offside? A split end? That was really harsh….

  29. LBG says:

    VAR is the biggest load of bollox since two extra officials station on goal line, in European games, with little sticks in their hands!!

  30. Morning all

    We have a New Post …………..

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