Mikel Arteta – Is he really under Fabregas’s Shadow

One of Arsenal’s frantic deadline day purchases was Arsene Wenger’s long term target Mikel Arteta. The 29 year old Spaniard, once part of the youth system at Barcelona has been a steady, if not spectacular, performer in the Premier League for quite some time now. His signing was one of the few bright spots during Arsenal’s tumultuous summer during which they lost their star players Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Although, Arteta was bought as a replacement for Fabregas, it is clearly evident that he is not in the same class of his compatriiot. However, what Arteta provides for Arsenal is versatality. He has had experience playing on the wings at Everton, and as central midfielder and as a central attacking midfielder. He is also a better tackler than Fabregas.

In my opinion, recent performances from Arteta have been extremely consistent. He is Spanish. He was part of Barcelona’s youth system. My point being, Passing is in his Genes. And this is what suits Arsenal. He was used as a central attacking midfielder on his debut against Swansea and he immediately showed his ability with two extremely well played through balls within the first ten minutes itself. However, in recent matches against Marseille, Sunderland and Stoke, Arsene Wenger has started using him in a slightly more deeper role while playing Aaron Ramsey in an advanced position. So instead of filling Fabregas’s boots, Arteta has started performing the role that Xabi Alonso performs so admirably for Real Madrid and Spanish national team.Spraying the ball throughout the match and helping Arsenal keep possession. And he is doing it extremely well.

While it may not be what the fans initially expected of him, but it has started paying dividends now as the Arsenal midfield now looks more compact than at the start of the season. He has forged a good understanding with the ever improving Alex Song, wherein one of them sits deep when the other one attacks, thereby always providing Ramsey or Rosicky with an option to pass the ball onto.

One criticism that I have regarding his game is that he plays too much through the centre.With Fabregas’s vision it was possible for Arsenal to play this way, but Aaron Ramsey has not yet shown the same capability.

Hopefully, Arsenal’s squad will start gelling together soon and Aaron Ramsey finally starts catering to his hype and you never know we can have the same old Arsenal back, playing football at its fluid best.

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