Mikel Arteta has contributed goals and assists to the Arsenal cause since his deadline day move to the Emirates Stadium, and Arsene Wenger believes his all-round game has helped lay the foundations for an unbeaten run that now stretches to nine games in all competitions.
The 29-year-old Spaniard has been a key cog in the Gunners midfield, seamlessly slotting into the role vacated by the injured Jack Wilshere - who is expected to be out until February after recently undergoing ankle surgery.
"Mikel is an extremely important player in our team because he has both sides that make a team good," Wenger told Arsenal Player.
"He is consistent going forward, technically fantastic and he works very hard for the team. He is an organiser too and does the job defensively in vital parts.
"We look solid at the moment and he has to take a big part of the credit because he does both jobs offensively and defensively - with quality."
Arsenal's poor early-season form now seems a distant memory, thanks to the goalscoring exploits of club captain Robin Van Persie who has spearheaded the team's revival, but Wenger also paid tribute to Arteta - whose committed displays in the middle of the park have aided their ever-increasing solidity.
"I am very happy with his defensive job and he is rewarded for it because he plays," the Frenchman added.
"If I play him it is because I am happy with the job he does and if he had not done such a consistent job defensively he would not be in the team.
"I believe that Mikel Arteta is a winner and on the pitch he does what is needed to help the team win. That's what I rate."
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