Mikel Arteta: Arsenal's underrated star
Mikel Arteta deserves more credit for his consistency in an Arsenal shirt
After losing their midfield maestro, Cesc Fabregas, in the summer of 2011 - Arsenal were in need of a replacement.
The player that ticked all the boxes was Mikel Arteta from Everton, so on deadline day, he was signed for a fee of around £10 million.
Since that day he has not done a thing wrong in an Arsenal shirt.
Known as a versatile midfielder at Everton, he has played in various positions such as deep and wide roles which make him so valuable to his team.
So, what makes him such a great player?
Unlike many midfielders in the Premier League, Arteta has the ability to dictate games and control the tempo at which it is played at. Being Spanish, he shares some of the traits of his fellow countrymen with perfect and precise passing - it allows Arteta to express his dominance in the middle of the park and it was no surprise that he finished the 2012/13 Premier League season as the best passer - as he completed the most with the highest level of accuracy.
In his first season with the Gunners he commonly played in an advanced attacking role in the squad. Arteta demonstrated why he plays in that role with an attacking flare and a fantastic footballing mind that operates extremely efficiently and quickly.
Snappy passing, terrorising through balls and a spectacular shot Arteta has everything when attacking.
As well as a great attacking mind, Arteta's versatility also gives him good defensive qualities which were needed during the 2012/13 season. For a majority of the season Arteta was playing in a deeper position as a makeshift defensive-midfielder when Abou Diaby, unfortunately, was unable to play.
When playing in this role the Spaniard was timing a majority of his tackles well and quickly looks on to see how he can influence the game further up the pitch or retain possession. His positioning in the middle of the park is second to none as he often places himself in the right place at the right time making it harder for opposition teams to play their game.
Arteta's abilities and importance within the team has commonly been questioned in the past season but that minority of people do need to analyse what he does for the team and the effect of his presence within the team.
Firstly he can play in any midfield position asked of him and he will do it well making a positive effect on the game. Secondly, fewer games are lost when Arteta is in the team due to his footballing expertise. Look at why Bradford away, Chelsea away and the second half of Newcastle away was so slow - because Arteta's presence was not there to create attacks and control the speed of the game.
Arteta is a crucial part of the Arsenal team and with his versatile abilities he is one of the Premier League's most underrated players.
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