For a long time now, one of the most talked about factors of the Arsenal team, often seen as a weakness but always a topic of debate, is the central midfield area. And more specifically, the most deep lying or defensive part of it. Now the club captain Mikel Arteta has had his own say on the matter.
Many of us still think that Arsene Wenger needs to sign a strong and energetic player to do the sort of job that our former captain Patrick Vieira did and the fact that the Frenchman led the invincibles to the Premier League title 10 years ago without losing a single game seems to support that theory.
Until the boss does go and sign someone like Sami Khedira or Morgan Schneiderlin, though, the Gunners have to find a way to succeed with what we have got. And that usually means playing either Mathieu Flamini or Arteta in the role, with either Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere alongside them in a more box to box role.
But after Wenger played Arteta and Flamini together once again in the away win at Sunderland, the Spaniard told Arsenal Player that he feels good playing next to the Frenchman and even suggested that the tactic could benefit our best player at the moment, Alexis Sanchez.
Arteta said, “I felt really comfortable with [Flamini]. Last year we played some important games together and I think we understand each other well.
“We wanted to give a bit more freedom to Alexis, playing a bit behind Danny [Welbeck], more like a 4-4-2, which we haven’t played for a while. It worked – I think Alexis did very well today so we’re happy for him.”
Wenger has suggested that 4-4-2 might be an option for Arsenal again this season, especially when Olivier Giroud recovers from his tibia injury, while having our two most defensive midfielders might be an option to shore up the spine of the team and offer our makeshift back four more protection.
However, where does that leave Wilshere and Ramsey, two of our most creative and dynamic midfielders? Do you think the Arteta and Flamini pairing can be anything but an occasional option Gooners?