Arsenal Captain Robin van Persie has hailed the positive impact of Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta on the Gunners squad.
Arteta, who was a deadline-day capture from Everton, has impressed fans and team-mates by the way he has quietly slotted into his designated role in Arsene Wenger’s midfield.
Van Persie has starred in Arsenal’s recent resurgence, but he was quick to insist their recovery from a difficult early season was down to the group growing.
“What I really like at the moment is that you can see people stepping up a level and growing in confidence," Van Persie told the Arsenal website.
"I can really notice that around the team.”
The Netherlands international signalled out Arteta for praise, stating the former Rangers player brings much in the way of Premier League nous and how it has become crucial to the team.
"For example, Mikel Arteta is playing really well. He’s so intelligent. He knows when to go forward, he knows when to sit back," added Van Persie.
“Sometimes Alex Song makes a run forward, and because of his experience, Mikel can read the game perfectly, knows when to go forward, when to help his team out, or when to play for others.
"Everyone can see he has grown into his role, and you can tell he has played many games in the Premier League."
As Van Persie pointed out, Arteta has been asked to play a much different role form the one he was assigned at Everton, where he was David Moyes’ creative hub.
Now on a ten-game unbeaten run after the draw with Fulham on Saturday, the Gunners will face probably their toughest test of that streak against Manchester City tonight in their Carling Cup quarter-final clash.
The game will be most notable for it being the first time former player Samir Nasri has returned to Emirates Stadium since his somewhat acrimonious departure north.