Arsenal are unbeaten in four matches since understated Spaniard Mikel Arteta returned from injury. This mini-revival has taken in progression to the fifth round of the FA Cup and seven points from three Premier League games, catapulting the Gunners back into fourth place.
Arteta has brought assurance and composure back to Arsenal's midfield. His smart and efficient distribution has been crucial for a Gunners team guilty of giving the ball away too often and easily in his absence.
What sets Arteta apart from many of the other members of Arsenal's midfield is his movement. The ex-Everton star is extremely active in midfield and is always covering ground to find space. This is why he makes such a difference to the flow of Arsenal's passing game.
Arteta's intelligent movement helps create openings for other players and always makes him an outlet for the man on the ball. By passing and moving quickly, Arteta has increased the general pace of Arsenal's play.
During their slump at the start of the year, the Gunners were often sluggish and their build-up play was slow for large portions of games. Arteta is tying the possession together and keeping the ball moving. It's no coincidence that Arsenal have created more scoring opportunities since the former Barcelona prodigy rejoined the fold.
Arsenal's midfield is populated by players who are usually defined in very specific terms. Alex Song is often regarded as the holding player and Aaron Ramsey as the most advanced playmaker. But Arteta possesses invaluable versatility that allows him to be the most complete player of the Gunners' midfield trio.
His ability to cover a lot of ground and be effective in both defensive and forward areas has allowed Song to supplement attacks and increased the fluidity of Arsenal's general style. Arteta's clever and confident performances have rejuvenated Arsenal and made him a hugely influential member of the team whom the Gunners cannot afford to be without.
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