EXCLUSIVE : A Look Into Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal Career So Far
Mikel Arteta was not the first choice midfield signing we had in mind but due to usual circumstances of dilly-dallying, we got him instead. Sitting in my room, and reading an article on Arsenal, the idea came to write about this reserved Spaniard who goes about his job without any complaints or glamour. Amongst the most impatient fans who claim to be die-hard(I’m guilty of this at times) he’s not the most popular figure as what fans perceive to be lack of cutting edge play on his part seems to be the problem.
I tried so hard to find the perfect and catchy title for this post and even considered “Mikel’s Art-Ether For Arsenal So Far” with the “Ether” representing the threat he presents to the opposite team and the “Art” for his role as playmaker (via @Illuminatish) but I stuck with the above.
For someone with 6 years of premiership experience, at a top club and commanding a pricey £10M for a 29 year old, a lot was expected of him when his signing was announced. To say his transition has been anything but easy would be a lie. Most fans are still not convinced he’s good enough to play for Arsenal. Let’s look at him closely.
Arteta is your classic CM, the playmaker that makes that transition between defense and attack, the one that dictates the tempo of the game and overall performance of the team. At Everton he played like that and at times as an attacking midfielder, that one that releases the final pass for the goal and scores the occasional goal. That’s who he is.
But at Arsenal, he’s been played differently. He’s been asked to sit deeper beside the DM, just infront of the back four and do the simple & careful job of collecting the ball & releasing it almost immediately. Pick the easiest pass, try not to get caught on the ball and help out when the attackers lose the ball. Which makes it easier for Ramsey to have that free role without really defending much.
For this primary reason, everyone seems to hate his style of play, I personally have gone as far as calling him a glorified Denilson. Looking closely at his game, you’ll see he brings a lot more to the table. Below are some of Arteta’s positives:
- ¤Anchors the midfield alongside Song and helps provide a solid enough base for all of Arsenal’s attackers. Defends well too and chases after every ball
¤Rarely loses the ball, builds attacks well and gives Ramsey all the freedom the Welshman needs to be the sole playmaker.
¤His variety of passes, mostly to the wings, gives us a different style of attacking play and frees up Van Persie from coming back all the time to collect the ball.
¤Reads the game well, at 29 brings welcome & much needed experience to the entire team both on the field & in the locker room.
Many claim he had his best performance against West Brom as he attacked with verve and hunger, gave an assured performance and for someone who has been accused of overplaying the pivot, distributing the ball to the wings and leaving others for the more clinical passes, he started and finished the move that led to third goal.
We must realize that despite his EPL experience, Arsenal is a whole new one for him, with an entirely different team where he has to curb his own attacking instincts to allow Ramsey flourish and take on defensive duties. In time, he’ll come good, but for now, we’ll have to put the team above his own performances. Let him continue with the careful style of play, who knows, maybe when Wilshere comes back, he’ll(Arteta) be pushed further up the pitch, I doubt gooners want to see that though.
2 Goals and 1 assist is not so bad considering Ramsey has 4 assists and 2 goals this season. As he said:
- “We’ve been working on being a bit more solid but I like to get forward, get freedom and I like to score goals. I want to participate more on the attacking side, so I did that(WestBrom) and I’m pleased with that”. When asked if that was the best of him, he said “I hope not, I’ve only been here 2 months”
Well there you have it. In time he’ll get better, I see him as a welcome addition who fans would come to appreciate as the season progresses especially if new signings come in come January. Have a great day gooners.
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