Mikel Arteta is not ideally suited to defensive midfield role at Arsenal

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Going into the 2014/15 campaign, many Arsenal fans were under the impression that a defensive midfield player would join the ranks before the end of the summer.

Arsene Wenger, however, wasn't able to grasp a player before the window slammed shut, so we're left in a scenario where Mikel Arteta will have to be the holding midfielder up until January at least.

Tough start

Arteta has endured a tough start to the campaign to say the least, suffering an injury in the game against Crystal Palace and then producing a very lacklustre performance against Borussia Dortmund which has seen him become the centre of criticism that in some respects has been been rightly given.

I can understand that this is a very difficult role for Arteta given his age and the fact it's not his natural position, so in reality the blame should be with the man who has forced him into this situation and not addressed the problem when he had the time to.

In my opinion, Arteta is perfectly capable of playing against the likes of West Brom etc in a holding midfield role, however when it comes to squaring up against the big boys, I can't see him performing to the level required.

The thing that worries me most is that last season when Arsenal suffered huge defeats to Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and even Everton, the game was always lost in midfield because Arteta would be outdone for pace and technical ability.

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Alternative required

If Arsenal want to match up against teams of that quality this season, I believe they have to look into alternatives.

The first alternative would be to play Mathieu Flamini in the role, however some poor displays this season have been enough to convince me that he's not up to the job on a permanent basis. As well as this, he still doesn't have any pace or physical presence about him, similar to Arteta.

Of course, his one major attribute is that he's a figure of authority - which is always a good thing - however he needs to stake his claim and also perform in his own position before criticising a teammate on the pitch.  

Diaby solution?

With the return of Abou Diaby to the team, this could be another option to solve the crisis, however it is a huge ask for him to stay fit all season given his injury record. Diaby has great attributes and is a huge presence so this could of course be something that's looked into.

Personally though, I'd love to see Arsenal try and work with a Jack Wilshere - Aaron Ramsey pivot with them both alternating in the box-to-box midfield role. I could certainly see these two forming a formidable and famous partnership and I really hope it's something that's attempted this season in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

For now it looks like Arteta will play a crucial part in Arsenal's campaign this season and my hope is that he drastically picks up form as we move forward. Whether or not Arteta will live up to the job remains to be seen and of course only time will tell.

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Mikel Arteta
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