Judging by the general consensus concerning Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, this article probably isn’t going to too popular with many people. In fact, I suspect many people saw the link to this article on Twitter and scrolled right past it. However, if you did choose to click the link, stay with me.
We’ll get the negatives out of the way first. Over the last season, Arteta has looked half a yard off the pace. The Spaniard has been doing a job that he isn’t really suited to. The deep lying, defensive role has looked a little beyond him and throughout this summer, with Arsenal being linked to Sami Khedira and William Carvalho, it has looked like he might be on his way out of the Emirates.
Considering a rather large amount of Arsenal fans were open to the idea of Arteta leaving, and a large proportion of them were ecstatic with the news, it is no surprise that many were unhappy when Mikel was handed the captaincy.
Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. What would be the point of football if fans weren’t allowed opinions? Madness. But, in the case of Arteta and the Arsenal captaincy, it might not be our place to have much of a say.
Although we dedicate our lives to supporting Arsenal and the players on the pitch, we know each of them about as well as the people who share a carriage with us on the tube.
There is one man though, who in footballing terms, knows each of them as well as anybody possibly could. Arsène Wenger is in the best possible position to select the most suitable player for the captain’s armband. Just as he was when he selected Thomas Vermaelen and stuck with him despite his serious lack of playing time.
The most important aspect of a captain’s game has to be his ability to lead a team, and Arsène has obviously seen enough in Arteta, be it in games or during training, to believe that he is the man to take control of the team.
On top of that, he is one of Arsenal’s most experienced and senior players and having been at the club since 2011, he knows the squad well. It is fitting that he should assume the captaincy, having been the vice-captain to Vermaelen.
At this point, I think it’s unlikely that Arsène will opt to bring in a defensive midfielder. However, if he does decide to bring in a player such as Khedira or Carvalho, it could dent Arteta’s game time. But, a captain can still influence the team off of the pitch.
After our FA Cup win over Hull at the end of last season, many of the players paid tribute to Thomas Vermaelen and the affect he had had on them as captain. Whether or not you believe they were being sincere or just being nice is your prerogative. But you can’t argue with the silverware.
Ultimately, Arsène obviously believes that Arteta is the man from the job, and behind closed doors it is more than likely that the players are happy with the appointment as well. We need to get behind our captain and hopefully, at the end of the season, he will be lifting more silverware above his head.