It would have been a brave man who put money on Arsene Wenger looking to solve some of the team’s defensive issues by re-deploying a cultured midfielder, but in moving Mikel Arteta back that’s exactly what he did.
The Spaniard’s discipline defensively has been outstanding, and when coupled with his passing ability it’s provided Arsenal with a solid and effective platform from which to dictate games.
Arteta himself is happy with the way things are going and is convinced that the new position suits both him and the team.
“Playing as a defensive midfielder was a big transition but it is more a mental thing,” he told the Evening Standard. “The boss is convinced that is the best thing for the team and I am, too, so let’s do it.
“If it works and in games like that where you probably think you need more physical presence but you still create and are able to match the physical ability and the way they play, it reinforces your belief. I am totally happy that is a good way to play.”
The stand-in captain also had praise for Aaron Ramsey, calling the Welshman’s performance ‘superb’, despite playing in a position which isn’t fully natural to him.
Meanwhile, Vito Mannone says the team showed real character to come from behind against last season’s title winners.
“We did all we could do to put pressure on them,” he said. “It shows great character to come back, especially against the champions.
“The team performed really well and everyone gave everything to come back and get a point. Every save that can help the team, I am really happy with.
“I was not happy with the goal obviously but I came back stronger with some saves.”