Archive | June, 2014


4 Jun

“He’s too old”, “He’s too slow”, “He’s lost his legs”, “He passes sideways”.

These are the regular criticisms thrown at our 32-year-old, resident defensive-midfielder, Mikel Arteta. I have criticised him many times this season, and in particular after big games such as Liverpool (away), Chelsea (away) and Everton (away). Against top class opposition and away from home it is easier for Arteta’s lack of top, top quality to be exposed, especially when lining-up without his legs, Aaron Ramsey. There is absolutely no doubt, that the Arteta-Ramsey axis provides the best blend in the engine room.


I don’t think Arteta is a top-class player at all and I think many Arsenal fans will agree but he is certainly a consistent and reliable performer for Arsenal. He brings a stability to the team and is a big reason why the attitude within our team/squad has changed. The professionalism he exudes is vital and while, I would say, Alex Song was better suited to the role (individually) because of his physical power, Arteta’s discipline, tactical knowledge and maturity make him a key element in our overall attitude as a team.




This improvement is reflected in our amazing consistency throughout the season. A big part of that has been to finally address our main defensive issues i.e screening our defence and being more organised from set-pieces, but in trying to execute what has been practised, we must have the will to get it right. Arteta always maintains the right attitude – him not being so cavalier benefits the team as he takes the responsibility to keep the defensive balance in midfield and while not being the tough-tackling powerhouse midfielder that the fans crave, he has the leadership qualities which help to bring the best out of other players. Wenger says, ““He is very influential and he’s a leader – one of the leaders of the team.”




We do need a top-class defensive-midfielder in the mould of Javi Martinez or Luiz Gustavo to compete against the elite squads but for 85% of the League games, Arteta does the job. Arsenal conceded 41 goals this season but this is a misleading statistic as 22 goals were conceded against the top five teams. This is Wenger’s worst record against the top-five, in a season where we conceded 19 goals against the remaining Premier League clubs, which shows a very strong defensive improvement with the exception of the big games. The consistency is there for all to see which is always down to leadership and direction of the team and whether we rate him or not, Mikel Arteta is a huge part of this. Wenger says, “I like Mikel Arteta because of his quality, his focus, his commitment and his winner’s attitude. I have big respect for what he has achieved this season. He is very conscientious, very professional and he has a couple of years left [at the top].