Mikel Arteta Returning to Full Fitness
There’s a lot to love about Mikel Arteta – the fact that he left Everton, a club he had served for six years, to leave for North London on transfer deadline day in 2011, the fact that he curbed his attacking instincts following the sale of Alex Song to become Arsenal’s holding midfielder, his amazing hair that ALWAYS remains in place even if puts it in every place known to man, his nice accent that sounds like some bullfighter from San Sebastian in Spain, him accepting his place behind Francis Coquelin in the team and the fact that he’s the No. 1 citizen at the club.
Arteta is the embodiment of every Arsenal at the moment and under his leadership, the Gunners have lifted two Community Shields and two FA Cups. At 33, the Spaniard is reaching his twilight years and he has been an inspiring presence off the pitch, rather than on it.
His last appearance for the Gunners, which also was his 144th, didn’t pan out too well on a cold November night as he suffered the ignominy of scoring an own goal in Arsenal’s defeat to West Brom at the Hawthorns. In that same game, Arteta suffered a recurrence of a calf injury that had sidelined him for a considerable chunk of the 2014/15 season.
After spending close to two months out recuperating from his injury, Arteta featured for Steve Gatting’s Under-21 side in their win against Blackburn Under-21s. Arteta played alongside some rather familiar young faces as the Gunners team featured the likes of Alex Iwobi, Dan Crowley, Kyzrtian Bielik, Chris Willock and the guy we expect great things from, Jeff Reine-Adelaide. The Gunners captain played for 45 minutes before he was replaced by Ismael Bennacer.
A full breakdown of the match report can be found here.
Having Arteta available for selection is welcome news, because the Gunners are desperately short of numbers in the middle of the park. Arsene Wenger’s side has been without long-term absentees Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky for a while now, and they were joined in the treatment table by Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla. Mathieu Flamini is another central midfielder that has had his fitness problems recently and while we await the imminent arrival of Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel, having Arteta fit again is good news.
The Sunderland game might be too soon for him but I expect him to get some minutes under his belt when the Gunners visit Anfield.
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