Arsenal fans MUST start to show MORE RESPECT to their new defensive-midfield leader

Proud skipper lifts 1st silverware of the season

Proud skipper lifts first silverware of the season

He is our new captain and he looks massively honoured and proud about it, he said it himself immediately after lifting the Community Shield at Wembley. Let’s give Mikel Arteta a break, gentlemen – can we?

He’s not a powerhouse, he will never be Patrick Vieira or Gilberto Silva but he’s never failed to give his all when called on by Arsène Wenger and most of the time he’s been very effective, as you will see below. Sure, he fell a bit short at times but not as often as many seem to think and he’s definitely useful more than useless and also far from being a finished player; for those bringing in the fact that he’s slow I would respond that he never had quick legs and never covered much ground so I wouldn’t expect him to start doing it at 32.

Knowing how he coped with a very complicated change of position from playmaker to holding midfielder and how much he has been a role model to teammates and youngsters from day one, he deserves more respect than he actually gets, in my opinion. I’m not here to say he’s the best in the world; I would just like to highlight the fact that blaming Mikel Arteta and turn him into a scapegoat is not fair, at all.

Sure it’s easier to keep in mind those battering at Anfield, Etihad Stadium (he wasn’t event there!) and Stamford Bridge but the Spaniard often provided the ideal platform for Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla to shine – which is not negligible.

Also, he’s often been very good at breaking opponents’ attacks and win the ball back – better than many, including myself, could think. I ran a comparison on in order to have a clearer picture of Mikel Arteta’s defensive record and I was very surprised to discover how good he has been last season:


He’s on par with or better than any other defensive midfielder in last season’s top five teams in terms of tackles won and interceptions bar Nemanja Matic (the Chelsea midfielder played less game, though) and has the best pass completion percentage of the crop, which tells me Mikel Arteta didn’t perform that bad.

He might have lost many tackles last season but apparently he’s not the only one – both Fernandinho and Matic did pretty much the same even if they are bigger and stronger than our captain. Before you say it, I know football is not about stats – not only, at least – but numbers do not lie and show an ice-cold, crude picture of what reality looks like, something that becomes complicated for human being and especially fans – like me.

Seen the impressive volume of stick and blame Mikel Arteta is taking, I would think he’s been a disaster in his three years at the Club but, if you take a closer look, you notice he’s been a great servant of the Arsenal and deserves praises more than critics: he has experience and dedication on his side which could help him cope with his obvious lack of power, moreover he has players alongside him who could run tirelessly for hours – which suggests me that the balance won’t be difficult to find.

If Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere or anyone else playing in central midfield doesn’t leave Mikel Arteta alone in his defensive duties, things could work out very, very well. Where others have fresh legs and energy, he has vision and anticipation; where others have power and height, he has shrewdness and cleverness.

This sounds great to me, especially if I think about all these years I was complaining about our inexperienced midfield and crying for Arsène Wenger to add someone with a better reading and understanding of the game. Mikel Arteta could not look like what we need but might actually be what we need.

This is just my opinion but I like him and the idea of having him as Club captain, perhaps at some point we’ll remember about this Mikel Arteta fella and think he’s been quite a great player for the Arsenal.

Andrea Rosati

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15 Responses to Arsenal fans MUST start to show MORE RESPECT to their new defensive-midfield leader

  1. Dimore August 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Spot on! Couldn’t agree more!

    • AndreaR August 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

      Thank you Dimore, glad you liked it

  2. Martin August 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    I will not give him a break. He’s not good enough to be in the 1st team as a DM. If we want to win the title we need a far better DM than Arteta. It’s an insult he’s been captain. It should of been Mertz.

    • AndreaR August 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

      Thank you Martin.
      That sounds a bit harsh to me…
      I love BFG attitude but Arteta has never let the Arsenal down in terms of dedication and motivation, I believe he deserves to be our captain.
      We can discuss about improvements on the pitch as long as you want, I reckon we definitely need a replacement for the future but I do believe Arteta can still do very well this season, at least.

      Mertz is next on the line to be our captain and will surely be given the armband many times next season as I don’t expect Arteta to play 50+ games, let’s say we have two captains at the Club – both excellent

    • D August 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      You’re exactly the type of fan that would have been shouting for Ramsey to be sold when he wasn’t scoring. Get a grip, shut up and support the managers decision. He knows alot more about football than you do

  3. waynegooner87 August 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Totally agree with the article mate, the problem is as you say stats show you what you dont recognise when games like liverpool, chelsea and everton come along with mikel. People have him as a scapegoat but in my opinion it was the team setup and the players in it that let the arsenal down not just mikel. I like mikel and im happy for him that he has been given the armband. I will admit the prospect of a khedira or carvalho in midfield was one i was drooling at the prospect and fully expected one of them to replace mikel in midfield, but i hope personally that he shoves my criticism down the pan and proves to me and us gooners why wenger continues with him. Lets not forget mikel brought composure and experience to our midfield when cesc and nasri left so us fans owe our new skipper some respect, and as you say he needa more protection from his fellow midfielders. I have confidence in him and feel he still has some fuel left in the tank before we seek a replacement. COYG

  4. Razman August 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    I’m glad someone is singing his praises, I feel like I’ve been defending him since we signed him. I think the point you made, and made it perfectly, is that he’s not the incredible hulk that people appear to want in the middle of the park. We signed Flamini, everyone was over joyed, and then it became glaringly obvious that his primal mind set wasn’t ‘that’ good. Equally we were in for that Capoue, despite him going to the Spuds, he looks rubbish!

    I watched Arteta all season and despite the occasioned he was outpaced or muscled (CL final group game was his worst performance), his ball retention is second to none, the stats speak for themselves and he rarely gave the ball away, be it a rough pass or under pressure from bigger men. I mean if someone wants the incredible hulk in the DM role then go speak to the Orc’s over in Stoke.

    Football has changed and you need calm players good with possession football more than you need thugs. Segio Busquets, don’t rate him but a fine example, he’s tall but by no means quick or strong. Also the fans wants Khedira but he’s hardly ‘fast’…. Neither can take a free kick or a pen like Mikel can! Finally – love him in interviews, more articulate than most England players. Great captain for sure! COYG

  5. babaozil August 13, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    Great article.I felt this article is on spot on.Our captain is one of the most underatted players in our setup.Fans are meant to support our team and not to kill the spirits of our players .Wenger knows best and that’s why he named Arteta as our skipper.COYG

  6. Tony911 August 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Thank God for this article! Arteta is a gift some fans rarely appreciate. He cleverness and awareness is awesome. He only needs those around him in the team to retain possession better, not losing it in transition. Even if we get a SUPERMAN as a DM, he still needs the team players to succeed.

  7. Dimore August 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Arteta gets to much unwarranted stick from loads of arm-chair pundits! But his stats don’t lie! He is indeed a decent player in the holding midfield role; certainly not the best in the world but among the top in EPL.

    Even if you ignore his impressive stats and just choose to read the comments about him by fellow teammates; you can clearly see that he is an integral part of the squad – a vital player that is of high repute by people that actually play professional football with him and train with him.

    Guys, Arteta was not named as the Captain of Arsenal Football Club by fluke! Especially not with other perceived top-notch players in line. The Spaniard is obviously rated highly by the Manager, his teammates and the coaching staff.

    I hope to see him captain this team for this at least for this season. He will definatley lead the team to more glory this season and for once, silence his critics.

    • DarlingbudsofArse August 29, 2014 at 12:07 am #

      You’ll be waiting for a long time friend! We will struggle to finish 5th if Arteta is allowed to lead and play in the side this season. It ain’t gonna happen mate. Quote me at the end of the season and I’m prepared to shave off every hair on me in public if I’m not spot on!!

  8. Patstyle August 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    To any of the above who think arteta is all that get a grip we will never win nothing never beat top teams with standard players like him I bet u lot think giroud is great as well loool

    • DarlingbudsofArse August 29, 2014 at 12:03 am #

      Good one mate! I agree with you.

  9. DarlingbudsofArse August 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    This is why we will never win anything tangible. We may win the odd FA & Milk Cup now and again & here and there but will never win the big ones when Arteta and the likes of him are allowed to thrive at Arsenal. He is at best average and will do well in teams not challenging for the title every year. Sorry folks but that’s the way I see it!!

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