Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughMidfield Conundrum: Is Arteta's Return Actually A Step Backward For Arsenal? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Midfield Conundrum: Is Arteta's Return Actually A Step Backward For Arsenal? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Midfield Conundrum: Is Arteta’s Return Actually A Step Backward For Arsenal?

The skipper is back from injury. Arsenal skipper Mikel Arteta has finally healed and is now available for selection once again. At present, the 33-year-old Spaniard has 101 appearances to his name for the north London side and has scored a total of 14 goals for them. He was a good purchase for them considering his price tag of just £10m and made the move from Merseyside rivals Everton in 2011. He has changed his style of play from an attacking midfielder to a holding midfield one since arriving at the Emirates and manager Arsene Wenger has been responsible for this evolution. However, as things stand does he have a future at the club?

The Everton past

Arteta was never meant to be a holding midfielder if his spell at Everton will be considered. He was mainly a play-maker and the creative genius for the Toffees. The 2005–06 season had him pick up both the Everton Fans’ Player of the Season and the Players’ Player of the Season awards. He was sensational during the course of the 2006–07 season and was always the first choice under then manager David Moyes. He often put in man-of-the-match performances for his side and ended the season with nine goals from 35 league games. Arteta was also awarded the Player of the Season Award for a second consecutive year and was also voted the Premiership’s ‘Midfielder of the Year’ by the readers of Sky Sports, beating PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. With all these achievements to his name, the Spaniard moved to the Emirates starting his new journey under Arsene Wenger.


Current side

At present if we look at the Spanish midfielder, surely he is not the quickest one in the side and does not showcase enough body strength to keep some of the better attacking mid-fielders quiet. His tackling has not been the best and at times he gives the ball away too cheaply. Apart from that, Arteta has been out injured for quite some time now and has missed most of this season through injury. Further, he faces opposition from Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Flamini for the holding midfield position in the starting eleven. Though Flamini is not at his prime anymore and is used occasionally by Wenger, Coquelin has turned their season around. The young defensive midfielder was summoned back from his loan spell at Charlton this season has been sensational for the north London club and will surely demand a place in the starting lineup for next season as well. He is just 23 years old and has a bright future ahead of him, which will force the French boss to pick him over Arteta in his conquest for more titles. It would take nothing less than a miracle for the skipper to feature ahead of his team-mate when both he and Coquelin are at full fitness.


Summer arrivals

Rumours about Sami Khedira’s possible switch from Real Madrid had flooded the transfer market previously, which have now died down. Further, Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan is being considered a potential replacement for Arteta, according to some reports as well. Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin was also being considered a potential target for the Gunners and if either one of them does join the Premier League giants, Arteta will not be getting much game time. Also, there is no hope for him to go back to his role as a playmaker now with the long list of stars that Wenger has in his squad at present.

Age and fitness

The Arsenal skipper is not getting any younger now and has been out injured for most of the season. He has had a long-term ankle injury and is not yet considered fit enough by Wenger to play for the first team. Recently, he was part of the U-21 side and looked fine, but there is no guarantee of his future at the club, even once he is fully fit. At the start of the season, his lack of pace cost the Gunners some crucial games as he failed to keep the opposition players quiet. If Arsenal wish to reach the level of European giants like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, there is an eminent need for change.

So now, the question remains, is his return to the first-team a step towards progress or a step backwards, only time will tell!!

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