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August 2021

Mikel the anchor man in midfield

Publication on July 20th: Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

The book that re-writes the Arsenal story.



By Walter Broeckx

Let us move on in midfield and take on what I think was the most influential player from last season: Mikel Arteta.

His presence or most of all when not present was the most important for the team results last season. He started in 29 games. And if you can count a bit you will notice that he couldn’t play in 9 games. Of those 9 games he couldn’t play, Arsenal could only win one game! Tell me, is he important or not?

If I can be critical about one thing than it is the fact that well, we should have bought him earlier. But then again he is no Cesc and would have been stopped by Cesc in a way. Maybe we should have sold Cesc earlier?  Just kidding of course but I must say that Arteta has performed beyond my wildest expectations.


Come to a team that has just lost Cesc and Nasri. Coming in to a team that had just lost Jack Wilshere with an injury. Coming in to a team that had just got the worst defeat in ages. But from the moment he stepped on the pitch you could see that he was going to be a big influence.

I have had the pleasure of seeing him play live on a few occasions and I must say that I have been very impressed with the way he played.  Always making room for himself, passing the ball to other players on the right side, scoring a few screamers, defending when needed, attacking when required, bringing balance to the team. Very rare are the times he loses the ball. I have seen statistics during the season and they were very impressive about his % of succeeded passes.


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Sometimes you see players coming from a lower placed team (with all respect to Everton) and when they have to make the step up to a top team they suddenly fail. This surely didn’t happen with Arteta. After a while you just forgot that this was only his first season for Arsenal. It looked as if he had been with us for years. No transition problems, no adapting to a new team problems. He had a perfect integration at Arsenal.


And he also was always very humble in his comments. Never putting himself in the spotlight but always praising his teammates. I think this also played a big part in the fact that his performances didn’t get the headlines they deserved.


When he was bought I wrote that he was a player that could have a big and positive influence on the upcoming youth like Ramsey and Wilshere. With Arteta now being 30 he has the experience in the PL that is very important. And he can teach the younger ones how they should play. Of course every player is different and has his own character but the way to see the game, to foresee what can happen next and to anticipate on that is something that you can learn from being on the field. If you have a player like Arteta in your team you have the perfect role model to learn from.


I do hope that he takes Ramsey and Wilshere under his wings and learns them a bit of the things he has learned. And I hope that both of them accept his leadership and the lessons he can teach them. They would benefit a lot from it. And so would the team benefit from it.


Because as can be seen from the numbers if he wasn’t around we suffered a big quality loss. At the end of the season Ramsey couldn’t do it any more as he was suffering after having his first real season after his injury. And Wilshere was injured so couldn’t play at all. I really do hope that this season one of them can step up whenever Arteta is not available and fill his boots.


If I can throw in some spectacular numbers: With Arteta on the field we won 20 games of the 29. A win % of  75%. If we would have done the same in the 9 games he was not available we would have won 6 or 7 games more. The number my calculator gives is 6,75 games.  Now we only could win one. Just add 15 points (or even 18!) to our total and look at the league table once again. Yep, amazing isn’t it.


By the way our overall % of winning games was 55% for the whole season. And with Van Persie in the team was 56%. So it is amazing that the player who made the biggest impact on us winning or not winning was Mikel Arteta. If you really want to talk about a one man team… Forget Robin Van Persie. It was Mikel Arteta who really was our most valuable player on the pitch.


So what do I expect from him? More of the same please. More of his experience, more of his goals, more of his assists, more of his defending, more of his attacking, more of him keeping the ball in the team, more of him doing the work in the shadow that nobody really notices but is oh so very important in any football team. More recognition also for his hard work.


He is no Cesc and he never will be a Cesc. He is Mikel Arteta. A by me very high rated and influential midfielder. Let him show it how it has to be done in midfield. So the younger ones can take over when he is injured and when he gets the weight of the years we will have his successors ready to take over in the long run.


Let us hope for a fit Mikel Arteta from start to finish and he will be pivotal for how the system works and to keep the balance in the team.


23 comments to Mikel the anchor man in midfield

  • jono

    20/29 games is nowhere near 75%. Actually 68% a big difference actually. What a bullshit article.

    Obviously van persie has the same win percentage seeing as he played every game.


  • Alzation

    Agreed. Arteta was our transition man and in my opinion, the player we have would have made the difference between winning and losing important games and trophies in recent years.

    When our attacks would break down, he took up positions that made us more solid defensively. When we won the ball back, he was aware to the possibilities of the quick break.

    I can’t imagine us losing against Birmingham at Wembley, if Arteta had played.

  • sank india

    Cesc can never be arteta.
    he just controls d game

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Cesc who?

  • Philip

    “If I can throw in some spectacular numbers: With Arteta on the field we won 20 games of the 29. A win % of 75%.”

    Small point but winning percentage is 69% with Arteta not 75%. 20/29 = 68.97%

    Otherwise great article & I agree with you on Arteta’s value to the team

  • Dania Charles

    Also get Arteta to help work on fripong an we don’t need Mac-villa. I’ll even suggest wenger gives him the skipper band in the event RVP leaves and not Vam.

  • Ong Bing

    I am very surprised with his performance last season.

    Once again Arsene surprised me. At the beginning of last season I don’t like him, because I still remembered the red card incident with Cesc.

    But after a few month I really appreciate his works for Arsenal, and considering his move to Arsenal is not about money (he gets wages cut), my appreciation is grow and grow.

    Good article Walter, I am very agreed with you, we suffered so much when Arteta injured.

  • saiks

    serious that he got pay gut for joining Arsenal ? and we are still hoping to spend millions on others we do not even know if they will be good enough for us…..I will start a facebook campaign to get him better that what he was earning at Everton,just need a second confirmation.

  • clive mpala

    good article indeed Arteta showed he is no Cesc but he is Arteta and his contribution to the team was excellent

  • Mrcreosote

    Important influence off the pitch too I understand. Broke up the clique atmosphere in the dressing room within days of joining apparently. Valuable player for the season ahead. Just need one more decent midfielder to play in front of him and we’re all set (unless van Persie leaves).

  • Cylvemaster

    I am astonished by his impact in the club last season. but i was not sure if it was his impact or rvp’s dat was felt the more. but it is obvious arteta is the man. I think if rvp goes, he should be made the captain

  • txmario

    Arteta for captain

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ok my calculator let me down…. it should have been 68.96%. But that still would get us to a winning of 6.2 of those not played games.
    So in essence the crap is still standing 😉 Add 6 won games to our points total and it looks totally different

  • bjtgooner

    Arteta has been an excellent signing & if he stays fit we can look forward with confidence to the new season. I agree Arteta is a good role model for the young players.

  • ARSENAL 13

    walter, nice won…..we can ignore the (calculators) faults.

    BUT what I noticed, Ramsey was a better player when Arteta was on the pitch with him. Yes he dropped off the edge in the second half of the season, he’ll be a lot better next season.

    Cesc was bad for ARSENAL. He was the first one to loose his head when things were not going as planned. That did influence the team negatively. Arteta is a fighter, had a solid mental strength. This will have a positive impact on Ramsey and Wilshere and may be also Diaby.

    I would have picked him as our captain, but he is a newbie….

  • @babakrdaemi

    Arteta is a great player who has made a massive impact. The problem is that for such an influential player he is injury prone

    A midfield of arteta, song and jack is really mouthwatering. Plus Ramsey, rosicky, frimmers, and coqulin. It’s a strong midfield. I expect the creation to be coming from wide areas this year with the midfield being more supportive of the defence.

    Come on the gunners

  • I

    Arteta is a fantastict player. With him fully fit, 2gether with a new attacking player, Arsenal can b d best. Guys check out this http ://

  • WalterBroeckx


    You are right. The number of games we won when first being behind was amazing.
    I think Arteta was very influential in this. He came from a team that lost more games and in a way never panicked when we went behind as he knew that feeling all too well. And maybe in the past going behind was some kind of mental block for Cesc and hampered him…
    I’ve never thought about it in that sense but it could be a psychological thing. Cesc thinking: we are the best so we should win, then go behind, panic in mind and loss of ability….

    Arteta thinking: lets try to win, going behind, okay guys lets try even harder to win it…

    Yeah sounds a good theory…

  • Mandy Dodd

    The UK media spent all last season using any means at their disposal to convince us Scott Parker was the signing of the season. The facts , figures and stats surely put Arteta right up there, a magnificent player.
    He will be vital next season with his approach to our game

  • insideright

    The interesting thing will be to see what happens if and when Jack returns to full fitness. Arteta basically took Jacks place in the starting eleven and, once he’d settled in, did it brilliantly. However could we envisage on of them being left on the bench if both fit? And if they are both fit how do the play in the same three man midfield? Drop Song? Drop Rosicky? I don’t think that either Jack or Arteta could play in their two positions as well as Song and Rosicky do.
    So change formation maybe? A four man midfield diamond perhaps.

  • ARSENAL 13


    My personal experience says, a captain of a team should be a strong character. Not necessarily a loud person, not necessarily a exceptional player.

    I believe our youngsters should do a (or two) loan spell at a bottom half struggling Premier League teams and not championship teams. Its good to build character.

    Loan spell a Bolton did help Wilshere with playing time and most importantly with mental strength.

  • Pad Gooner

    Arteta gave a calm composure in the midfield and produced excellent goals when required. I think Walter wrote an article on Arteta’s performance when was conducting “player of the year” voting. After reading Walter’s piece, I was more convinced that he is the Key player of the year for us and so I voted for him.

  • patrick

    For me the number 1 priority is signing a tough, physical and sometimes dirty bastard to play the defensive midfielder position Yes that is a bigger priority for me than keeping rvp because in my eye’s, no matter who plays up front or how many goals they score, it will still not be enough if we continue to ship goals at the other end De Jong from citeeh or javi martinez would be my top options but others have suggested m’vila and I still havent seen enough to form an opinion one way or the other.

    If we sort out the above issue then obviously the rvp situation would be my next priority although I feel that situation is already done and dusted and not for the better either

    Thirdly I know that we badly badly need a keeper to challenge/back up chesney and I do share the concerns about sagna’s leg breaks but for me the more important issue is ridding the club of the shite that is putting such a strain on our wage bill. It seems to be a universally accepted need but unlike HighburyJD I am not in the slighest bit confident that wenger will do the necessary – there are too many players that nobody else wants and the one’s that are wanted by other clubs are over-valued by wenger which is ironic (not in a funny way either) given his refusal to spend market value prices himself