Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says Pep Guardiola has been "incredibly supportive" and given him "good advice" during the Spaniard's struggles in his first full season in charge at the Emirates.
Arteta spent three years as an assistant to Guardiola at Manchester City before being appointed by Arsenal in December 2019 and enjoying a successful start to life in north London, overseeing some impressive Premier League results and an FA Cup triumph.
However, Arsenal go into Tuesday's Carabao Cup quarter-final against City having won just one of their last 10 matches - a series of results that has left them in 15th place and just four points clear of the relegation zone.
Despite confirming their relationship remains as strong as ever, Arteta said he's not expecting his compatriot to go easy on him as their sides meet at the Emirates, live on Sky Sports.
"No he won't, because I know him and he wants to win this competition," Arteta said. "But he has been incredibly supportive all the time.
"We always talk, we always are in contact and he's a really important person in my life regardless of the football.
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"And him and other people that are really close to me, they've been incredibly supportive and giving me strength, and giving me a lot of good advice I think."
Arsenal's poor league form has been largely down to an inability to create chances and score goals, with Arteta's side having managed just 12 goals in 14 games - with only three Premier League sides having scored less.
The club's technical director Edu recently identified the need for a creative midfielder, and Arteta confirmed on Monday that a "plan" is in place for both next month's transfer window and the following one in the summer.
"The plan is done," Arteta said. "What we wanted to do in January, what we wanted to do in the summer.
"Sometimes you can do it, sometimes not, depending on a lot of factors.
"Edu is dealing with that at the moment and I'm focused with all the games, we don't have much time to expend energy now on that because it's very clear what we want to do."
Sky Sports' Adam Bate:
"We need to generate more to win football matches," said Arteta after the 2-1 defeat to Everton. That much is clear but how are Arsenal planning to do that? Their Goodison Park defeat on Saturday was more of the same from a team languishing towards the bottom of the table.
Ten games have yielded one win and Arteta cannot argue that his team have been unfortunate, not now. This is no false position; this is a poor Premier League team. The problems are apparent and, perhaps even more worryingly, they are familiar. Arsenal do not create chances from open play, let alone score them, and that sluggish approach play is beginning to appear as if it is by design.
"Everton have just let them have the ball," said Jamie Carragher, on co-commentary for Sky Sports. "The same as at Tottenham - let Arsenal have the ball and what can they do? They create nothing.
"When a team drop off and they are winning, it is up to you then to create chances, not keep the ball. Possession means nothing then - it is about what you create. The competition is not who keeps the ball the most. Everton are winning, they have dropped off. What can you create?
"I cannot think of anything in this second half where Arsenal have created a chance that they should have scored or the goalkeeper has made a great save. That is the name of the game."