by Mosope Ominiyi
Captain Mikel Arteta has stated his belief that the attitude shown within the Gunners’ squad can help push the club to more successful times in the future.
The experienced holding midfielder, 33, is one of the oldest players in the first-team and lifted the FA Cup for the second successive year after an impressive 4-0 victory over Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa side. Arsenal have become the first team since Chelsea (beat Everton and Portsmouth respectively) to seal two back-to-back FA Cup trophy triumphs back in the 2009-10 campaign.
Mikel, who has only played seven Premier League matches this season due to a troublesome term plagued with injuries, said: “The development of this group in the last three or four years has been magnificent. To get to a stage where we are now, the people we have in the dressing room, the way we behave, the way we believe, the way we play for each other and look after each other is phenomenal.”
He continued: “That’s not up to me, it’s up to all the players and all the effort from the staff and everyone involved at the club. So I’m very pleased with what we’ve got. I’m not a captain that likes to do everything by himself.
“We’ve got players and characters here that are very good for the group and I keep them involved all the time, It’s not about my ideas or my beliefs, it’s about getting a taste of what players need. They are different ages and different cultures and they come in at different times as well.”
The emergence of Francis Coquelin after a loan spell at Charlton earlier on in the season has become somewhat of a success story, giving Arsenal added bite in the midfield, where they have struggled in previous seasons. Although rumours suggest Wenger could be looking at another defensive-minded midfielder, such as Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin to partner the Frenchman, who was out-of-favour just a few months ago, I doubt it’d be Arteta who seems to be content with a bit-part role in the team.
He’s been a loyal and shrewd servant to the club that signed him for £10million pounds from Everton back in 2011, boasting having made over appearances for the north London club. With that being said, he’s struggled to keep up with the intensity of an ever-improving Arsenal side, who are eager to challenge for titles.
With him in the side, they look cautious and tend to rather play it safe, as opposed to Coquelin who makes everyone’s jobs easier by solidifying the defence as a tough-tackling shield to deny opposition players from penetrating through the middle of the park, for which Arteta does not do particularly well to protect.