In the dying hours of the summer transfer window, it was announced that Mikel Arteta was the final item on Arsene Wenger’s deadline day shopping list. Although his pedigree was undoubted after six stellar seasons with Everton, it had been feared that Wenger had once again opted for the cheaper option in the club’s bid to fill the gaping hole left by the likes of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.
Thankfully though, the Spaniard has proved to be exactly what the side needed. Blessed with an abundance of technical ability and battle hardened by six years in the Premier league, Arteta has played a pivotal role in the transformation of an Arsenal side that has went from an 8-2 Manchester United drubbing to one brimming with confidence on the back of a seven game winning streak.
The 30-year-old midfielder has become what most Arsenal fans hoped Denilson would. Lying deep (often the furthest back of the midfield trio) Arteta has proved to be a slick, efficient dictator of the ball.
The accuracy of his passes, given the variety he attempts, is nothing short of astonishing. In the Premier league this season, Arteta has completed a mammoth 1,792 passes- a tally only bettered by Yaya Toure. Considering the fact that he has a 90.5% accuracy with these passes, you could be forgiven for thinking that they were simple without much potency, which couldn’t be any further from the truth.
In the 25 games Arteta has played this season, he has created 54 chances at a rate of 2.2 per game- the second best in the Arsenal squad (behind van Persie with 2.4). More impressively, out of the top 10 passers in Europe, only Andrea Pirlo (3) and Xavi (2.4) have made more key passes per game than Mikel Arteta.
Next Page: More on Mikel Arteta’s passing…