Miki and Me.

September 18, 2012 12 Comments by Sian

Good afternoon, Montpellier later, but first a few words from another girl what loves them Gunners. You’ll probably know her from Twitter or from the Emirates or from the Tollington – Zana! She’s my favourite and funniest of all the Tweeters (and full-sized humans) and she loves Mikel Arteta. Here’s why.

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“The defeat at Old Trafford” are words all Arsenal fans have become used to by now and I feel a bit uneasy typing those out myself. We all know about the start we had, why that happened and what we did to address it. Well, transfer deadline day was unusual for us; let’s just say very un-Arsenal like. We ended up being linked to hundreds of players as per usual, but Arteta was one who actually became a reality (even that wasn’t done in quick fashion but still, done it was.)

I’m in danger of going on about things that don’t really matter now so I’ll go ahead and express my overly positive thoughts on Mikel Arteta. We can go on about his hair and his perfectly shaped eyebrows but in the end, the consistent quality of his performances is what really stands out to us fans. Some labeled him “injury prone” and not the “ambitious” signing we needed to push on when it was made official but I have to say, there were also some who were bursting with excitement: yes, Jack Wilshere. I’m sure you all remember his tweet (now I’m going on one again.)

In his first season here, he teamed up with Song and Ramsey in midfield, who was then replaced with Rosicky after his impressive performances in the latter part of the season. Not only was he by far the most consistent midfielder, he could have held the tag of being the most consistent performer of any player at AFC. Yes, there was a dude who happened to score a lot of goals but we’ll forget about him, and an absolute beast of a Frenchman in defence. I argued many times with those who called Song “better” and asked them to justify that, but in my view, there is something that clearly puts him above Song: his intelligence on and OFF the ball. I’m not talking about trying an over the top ball hundreds of times per game and only pulling it off once when I say “on the ball” by the way.  Oh, and I’m not talking about trying to be all clever and ending up passing to the opposition which then leads to them scoring near the end of the game. The Norwich game, the one where we all left the Emirates feeling as though all that hard work had been undone and it was over.

This season has seen him take up the defensive midfielder role in which he has been faultless and I really do mean that. We all watch him enough to know how vital his defensive contribution is but let’s throw in a few stats: he averages 4.8 tackles per game and also three interceptions per game. After every performance, we’re bombarded with his passing statistics (94.5 passes per game and all that jazz) but it’s much more than that. You will rarely see Arteta make the wrong pass at the wrong time and as you’ll have heard most of the Arsenal world say, he keeps us ticking. With another little Spaniard in there, whom we’ve all already fallen for, we have something to be very excited about. Throw in a Wilshere or possibly even a consistent Diaby, and we will rarely lose a midfield battle. I’m rarely worried when I see Arteta in the starting line up – we’re all aware of what happened when he didn’t play last season. He is a vital part of our game or probably our most vital player so let’s not think about him possibly stubbing his toe and missing a few games. You and I could go on about him all day but let’s just watch and appreciate his professionalism, intelligence and commitment. One of the best at what he does, yes I’ve said it.

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Follow Zana on Twitter at @r_zana.


  1. Miki
    1890 days ago

    Thank you for writing this about me, Zana…send me your address and I will send you some hair gel


  2. Daniel
    1890 days ago

    Whoop! Nice treat to see Zana in more than 140 characters.

    “…the defensive midfielder role in which he has been faultless and I really do mean that.” Well said, he really has. Such a selfless player, he really isn’t worried about appearing on the highlights of any game, he is more interested in playing a role that helps everyone else achieve their best too. It’s marvellous.

    The man also knows how to win a match. Against Liverpool he took down Sterling about 25 yards out as he was running in at our defense. It was a purpose foul and one he knew he would be booked for but too often our players don’t think to do these things for the greater good. I mean, that wasn’t the best thing he did that day, because he was amazing, but it was one of those moments for me.

    The man puts the Art in Arteta.

    Great blog, zana, more of the same soon, hope Sian chucked in a few olives :)


  3. Dan Cohen
    1890 days ago

    This is why it was a pretty easy decsion who to get on the back of my Arsenal shirt this year…


  4. Andrew
    1890 days ago

    FINALLY, feels like I’ve waited a lifetime for this when in reality it’s probably only been a week.

    I think the most impressive thing about Mikel Arteta is that he’s so professional and sefless. It’s not like he’s an average footballer who is prepared to do the defensive work in order to get picked. He’s more than capable of playing further forward for us, but he helps out defensively for the TEAM. A concept lost on certain past Arsenal players, *COUGH COUGH* Alex Song.

    Slightly disappointed you didn’t write a bit more about his perfect hair mind.


  5. Matt
    1890 days ago

    I’m hardly likely to insult you twice in three days but totally agree with all of that….

    Arteta. What a player. Yet, you’ll probably only appreciate him fully if you see him live as most of the good stuff he does would go unnoticed by the Sky cams. I said to someone on Twitter on deadline day that we didn’t need a defensive midfielder as such because we had Arteta.

    A DM (I know Arseblog loves that acronym) doesn’t have to be someone 6ft tall, 15st and with all the twatiness of Busquets. Just needs some intelligent enough to sit, keep the shape, use the ball wisely and cover for whichever of the defenders decides to do a Vermaelen upfield. He did this perfectly at Liverpool and will hopefully do the same on Sunday.

    Intelligence is the key. Have that and you can play anywhere.

    Nice writing btw and just the right amount…. ;-)


  6. Lauren
    1890 days ago

    Great article. Can’t wait to see more x


  7. Amrit
    1890 days ago

    Hi Zana, I really enjoyed reading this piece. It’s nice to see your incisive analysis on a platform that does not restrict you to the confines of a 140 character limit.

    I like that you highlighted Arteta’s consistency, intelligence and pragmatism and I wholeheartedly agree that he is vital to Arsenal’s game.

    Going back to Arteta’s pragmatism – I agree with Daniel’s point about the momentum killing fouls. They are necessary and players need to be willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the team. When the Cheesy Wotsit Man tried to execute these, he would clumsily go through the back of opponents and was booked on pretty much every occasion. By contrast Arteta executed a number of these momentum-killing cynical challenges subtly, without drawing as much attention to himself and consequently he avoided picking up as many bookings. Mikel Arteta managed to make fouling look sexy.

    Anyway, great debut post. Hope to read more of your work in the future.


  8. Victor Wekesa
    1890 days ago

    That is very good Zana,keep up the good work.I am Kenyan and I concur with you.Arteta understands the game.


  9. Mark
    1889 days ago

    Hi Zana,
    Just wanted to say this is an awesome piece and I’m delighted that there are other people who seem to value Arteta’s near faultless contribution in midfield game after game.

    Seems to be overlooked constantly by most fans of other teams that I know (A Spurs fan I talked to yesterday still maintains he is a poor man’s Cesc, but I guess we all know how ridiculous a statement that is), but our midfield would be seriously lost without him as we saw post-Wigan last season.

    Anyway keep up the great writing and hopefully I’ll get to read more of your articles soon.


  10. Alex
    1889 days ago

    Considering how often I see you mentioning Sian or her you on Twitter, was wondering when you’d get around to appearing on here :)

    Great job Zana, the 1st player I got on an Arsenal shirt EVER for a reason, he is Magnificent.


  11. ALAN
    1888 days ago

    Nicely put, Z. Arteta’s about as key to us at the moment as a keyey thing.


  12. Irishgray
    1885 days ago

    Zana – Very nice article. I fully agree with you when you say he was our most consistent player, even with RVP having his standout year. I think Rosicky gave him a run for his money in the latter part of the season, can’t wait to have him fit again. JW too.

    The Arsenal 4-2 Man Shitty

    FunGunner loves when I try and predict the score :)


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