I wonder if the comments by the Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta this week were intended as a gentle reminder to Arsene Wenger that the Spaniard is fit and ready for action and has been itching to get back on the pitch for some time. Arteta has been a sub in two Premier League games and the Community Shield win over Chelsea, but is it time for him to start a game?
The coming week provides the Arsenal boss with two very good opportunities to get his captain back in the starting XI, with Stoke City at home and then Dinamo Zagreb away. For me the game at the Emirates stadium on Saturday looks like it is made for Arteta, as his greater passing and creative ability will probably be more valuable to the Gunners as we look for a vital win and the Potters will be happy with a point.
I can perfectly understand why Wenger has stuck with Francis Coquelin as our deep lying midfielder so far, because the young Frenchman has been fantastic. Arsenal do need more though, and we cannot rely on him to play every single game. Surely it would be better to start sharing the load sooner rather than later and start each player in the games most suited to their talents.
So Chelsea away next weekend is nailed on for Coquelin but with two games before that in the same week, Arteta must be in line for a first competitive start since last November. Would you bring him back for Stoke or wait for the midweek Champions League game in Zagreb?