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The departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the summer meant that the Gunners were short on players and quality in the midfield department. Signings were required and the loss to United only strengthened this belief and while the Gunners left it very late, as late as the last minute, the Gunners captured the experienced duo of Yossi Benayoun from rivals Chelsea and Everton captain Mikel Arteta.
Benayoun has made two starts and has popped with a solitary goal against League Two side Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup. It’s still too early to see how he can perform this season and like Arsene Wenger said, we might have to wait till the end of the season to see if the club makes his deal a permanent move.
Mikel Arteta, on the other hand, has got his Arsenal career off to a great start with some solid performances against Swansea, Blackburn and Bolton including his second goal at Ewood Park just this season with a neat finish.
When Arsenal announced the capture of the Spanish midfielder, there was delight among several Arsenal fans. Arteta has been one of the league’s most creative and yet underrated midfielders but most Arsenal fans knew that they had a signed a fine midfielder. Yet, it was also a well-known fact that the likes of Eden Hazard, Mario Gotze and Yann M’Vila were all first-choice targets.
Cesc-lite and “A poor man’s Fabregas” were some of the terms people used to refer to Arteta. On the basis of his first three Premier League performances at Arsenal, it is safe to make the assumption that Arteta is more than capable in filling the void left behind by Arsenal’s departing captain.
Creative, good on the ball and blessed with great vision, Arteta has fit in seamlessly into this Arsenal side and seems to have formed a good understanding with Welsh captain Aaron Ramsey.
Filling the void left by Fabregas is no easy task and while Arteta might not be on the same level as the now Barcelona player, Arteta remains more than capable of playing an integral and vital role to the Gunners.
In the first few matches, there was a lack of fluidity within the squad as the Gunners failed to penetrate teams with the precision and incisiveness with Fabregas in the team. With the addition of Arteta, Wenger has ensured that the team has a player who understands the role to perfection and is capable of playing the central midfield role to great success.
His performance against Swansea in his first start was a treat and his performance against Blackburn was only better. Despite losing the match eventually, Arteta’s distribution and passing range just showed the fans his talent and his quality. Even against Bolton he stamped his authority on the midfield with yet another assured and confident performance that highlighted his experience.
Blessed with a hardworking nature and surrounded by a talent filled team featuring the likes of van Persie, Walcott and Gervinho, Arteta has the talent around him to become an integral part of the Gunners team.
Life after Fabregas was always bound to be difficult but the ease with which Arteta has adapted will please the fans and will prove his critics wrong about his quality and talent.