Arsenal Depot

A depository for musings on Arsenal FC

Arteta’s Only Fifth Best While Van Persie Speculation Mounts

Firstly, many thanks to all the readers who commented on yesterday’s post about our pursuit of Yann M’Vila. Many of you made valid counter arguments to my own views and it generated a bit of debate so I am grateful to all those who took time to post their opinions.

Before I do a quick round-up of the news surrounding Arsenal, I would like to point you to a post I really enjoyed yesterday, Ginger4Limpar’s highly insightful review of the Gunners’ 2011-12 campaign.

While there’s plenty of speculation about targets such as Giroud, there isn’t any actual news. The one story dominating Twitter timelines yesterday was non-Arsenal related, the swayamvara of Eden Hazard seemingly ending with the Belgian choosing Chelsea as marriage partner – for an initial period of five years, it is rumored.

On, Mikel Arteta was announced as the fifth-best player of the season as voted for by fans. I am a little disappointed the Spaniard finished that low. For me, he was the third best player behind Robin van Persie and Laurent Koscielny. While the work he does goes largely unnoticed, it was his overall contribution in the midfield that allowed Arsenal to control games even when the team wasn’t playing at their best.

In one of the interviews given earlier in the season, Arteta had this to say:

I just try to balance the team a little bit. I don’t want to be the main man; we all know who the main man is and that’s Robin. The most important thing is the team, and once the team is doing well the highlights will come for the rest of the players because we are playing well. Everyone is part of a machine and we are all just trying to make the machine work as well as we can.

With a plethora of eye-catching attacking players, Arsenal need to add one or two more professionals like Arteta who can do the hard grind without being noticed. Hopefully, there’s more to come from the humble Spaniard next season.

Most of the other talk in Arsenalsphere centers around the future of Robin van Persie. While it’s clear that no further discussions will take place until after the Euros, each passing day brings more predictions of his imminent departure. It could be partly due to the shenanigans of last summer but we, the Arsenal supporters, have only ourselves to blame for dwelling on a matter which is not even going to be discussed between player and club for another month.

Eventually, it is Robin’s decision to stay or not. I think the financial package that’s been talked about (£130k per week) is quite generous and I can’t see Arsenal stretching that figure any more than that. If the captain has other concerns such as new signings, these can be talked about – but it would be a dangerous precedent to allow a player to influence the club’s transfer policy – even if that player is club captain and has scored 30 goals in the last campaign. If Van Persie does not believe Arsenal can challenge next season, he should be moved on swiftly and focus shifted to players who are committed to the cause.

Last season, it was claimed that the onus for Arsenal’s attacking play fell too heavily on Cesc Fabregas. This season, his absence was covered further back in midfield where Alex Song’s attacking contribution and Arteta’s six goals helped Arsenal achieve a better goal tally than last season. Sure, Robin van Persie’s 30 goals were critical this season but life goes on. If Van Persie were to leave, I am certain we would see a better distribution of goals among the other strikers.

Then of course there’s the possibility he will stay. While it’s a good topic of discussion about how Arsenal might cope with his departure, there’s a long way to go before RvP’s decision is forthcoming so let’s just stay positive while we wait.

Back tomorrow with some more thoughts.


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33 thoughts on “Arteta’s Only Fifth Best While Van Persie Speculation Mounts

  1. moses on said:

    what a u trying 2 say? a u happy with arsenal’s transfer policy or ur happy wen the club goes eight years trophyless.persie is 100% rght 2 demand 4 change in transfer policy.if he goes others will score as u say, 4 how long wil u keep selling ur bst players that others will cover up and in d end we see nothg our way.what if he goes,don’t u thk another best player wil go the following season??? wake up and write sense pliz.

  2. nick on said:

    Ur post is really gud bt i dn’t support ur opinion dat rvp shud liv.2 b honest i hvn’t got over d loss hurts me 2 c him playin 4 another team apart 4rm arsenal.if u witnes wat we arsenal fans witnessed day in day out.d humiliatn 4rm chelski fans and others,mockin us on our inability 2 win any trophy in d last seven yrs,u’ll realy know dis is nt d best of time 2 let go of our best players.i’m tired of stayin glued 2 d internet searchin n browsin 4 all arsenal rumours n waitin 4 d players we’ll sign while our rivals hav already captured 2 best(delibr8ly use best) hurts

  3. trick hamman on said:

    Thanks so much my fellow Gunners i pray RVP will stay but if he chose to leave good luck for him as well as we the Gunners fans we can always get a good backup striker we have seen many great strikers before him and there must be many after him, so if he forgot how injured prone he was before this season.this is the only season he play full, who knows maybe next season he may not play half of the season and get injury.So for me if he chose to stay with us we can only pray for his injury free if he want to leave for a better side than Gunners probably Man city he may live to hurt his self.God of soccer may be with us next season just like Chelsea this season for winning UCL one love Gunner good lucks .

  4. Agree that we could do with a little greater contribution in terms of goals from elsewhere but I think to say we over rely on RVP isn’t as simple as it seems. The benchmark phrase banded for a quality striker is often ‘but will he get you 20/30 goals in a season’ so to some degree rvp is just delivering at the top end for a world class player. I think the the over reliance comes in 2 ways, first out ability to leak goals meaning we are always hoping RVP gets us out of a hole, this is a team and perhaps system issue but one that needs addressing, if you keep clean sheets and your main striker score 30 then its a good team, concede 30 and score 30 and its over reliant. Secondly is the over reliance in the quality of our bench, if RVP is out then we do have a problem and that really isn’t good as we need to be able to rest and refresh players, as we saw with Jack, it’s irresponsible to play players til they burn out.

    For me, whilst signings may convince RVP of our ambition, only by rectifying our poor team defending can we hope to match his ambition, signings alone I fear won’t scratch the surface.

  5. “If Van Persie does not believe Arsenal can challenge next season, he should be moved on swiftly and focus shifted to players who are committed to the cause.”

    Thinking we are light weight and wanting us to beef up is not a lack of commitment

  6. Good article, yeh it is surprising artetta was voted fifth I would say he was better than kocialny because arsenals whole game went through mikel we all know what happened when artetta got injured, our game fell apart we had to dramitically changed.
    In terms of van Persie, we need him to stay at all costs because he is the only player in our squad who knows what it’s like to win with arsenal if you look at the dip that we made when Henry left he was our captain our influential leader, when that was gone we plumited into what we are now, a team that goes far but not all the way. The loss of robin will put us back to the stone age and if that happens then spurs will be the new leaders of the north of London, we must not let this happen.

    I’ve been looking around the stories this morning and it appears we are in the advanced stages of luring llorente to the emirates stadium, now this capture either bring confidence to arsenal fans that van Persie is staying or llorente is his replacement. I think he will be his partner up top and I can’t wait.

  7. i think we shouldn’t look at it at that angle, yes u might say RVP is trying influence transfer policy but it for a good course. No one can convience me our current squad doesn’t need strengthening. He is 28 and might have a little more years of football in him. Cahill just came to chelsea and he has a champions league medal don’t u think he would wish he was doing that with arsenal? He loves the club and wants the best for it.

  8. pascal on said:

    Gud point dude!!!!!!! I think we should let RVP go if he decide to move on!!! Many thought after the depart of Samir n Cecs Fabrigas that Arsenal was die team,but they we are,I believe that if one goes onother rise!!!!

  9. Olu-philip on said:

    And what you are trying to drive out to us is that important signing is not necessary & to end another season with same story? Hay is not that Arsenal cannot achieve more if the signing could be “changed” a bit, but the politicking system that brought in Stan with the view of “change” that’s making to be on the same spot. It was when we had high profile players that we’ve trophies last.

  10. Zinc on said:

    I entirely agree about Arteta – you only have to look at our record when he wasn’t available (we only won one of the nine games where he was missing) – he did all the unglamorous, thankless work in the middled of park that makes the team tick over without fuss, he’s ended up a superb signing and if he’d been fit all year we’d have finished a lot closer to the lead.

  11. nesbert chinyani on said:

    I totally agree with your thoughts on Van Persie. If he wants to move on, we should get rid of him quickly and find a replacement who is committed. No player is bigger than the club and we can become more stronger. Big names have left before and we have regrouped and moved on. Who could have thought that we would finish third following the departure of Cesc, Nasri and Clichy. It would be wrong to try to hold on to Van Persie when his heart is no longer with us.

  12. players loyal to the cause? thats the reason why players who want to achieve leave the club,what VP is doing is healthy because it just clearly shows we are a club with no ambition,its ridiculous you can write an article that,if you are a true gunner you’ll know we’ve lost key players with the same demand/request

  13. arsenal-steve on said:

    I agree Arteta was Huge last season. You have no Critique in your article. If this club do not buy they will be also rans, and RVP will leave. The club is irresponsible and without a Critique of that so are you. Wake up.

  14. pedantic george on said:

    If we have 4 better players than Arteta then we have a better team than I thought.

  15. I think Arteta deserved better.
    I dont see RvP leaving. Get at least 2 of M’ Villa, Giroud, n is it Bigwa/Biglia n we just may be done

  16. prince white on said:

    we had fabregas and nasri we were always ending fourth position .we dont hv them nw we ended third position.anyone that is leaving should leave on time so we can move forward.

  17. Pst Joseph on said:

    Life go on and arsenal wil always be arsenal, wit or witout rvp, after all Drogha is leaving chealse, the most important tin is dat let a good replacement come in, that is d only area I hv problem wit d bord and Wenga.

  18. @don 11.29 – Which players have we lost to that demand, Don? Nasri went for the money, Cesc went because he wanted to cash in on Barca’s hot run. Isn’t it hypocritical of you to demand the signing of big players when the ones you are praising as being ambitious are the players who have been developed BECAUSE of Arsenal’s philosophy of not buying big? Van Persie himself didn’t have confidence in his own ability to play up front, the fact that Wenger gave him the belief is the sole reason why we’re dicsussing RvP’s ‘ambitions’ today. If Arsenal had followed the buy big pattern of other clubs, RvP wouldn’t even be here beyond his first three years because of his continual injury problems.

    Still, I am as disappointed as you at not having won a trophy. But surely as a ‘true’ Gunner, you must have more of a connection with your club than silverware, Don? Sticking by your players during injuries, helping them develop their potential, allowing them to express themselves and become better footballers are all principles Arsenal abides by and which are important factors in my love for the club. It is also important for the players, because they would not get this opportunity at most other clubs. So when one of them has a couple of good seasons, they should not feel entitled to force a change in the philosophy which they have personally benefitted from.

    If you do not believe this is the right way, you are free to cheer for whichever club buys the biggest player – same as you’re free to start your own blog if you find the writing on other blogs ridiculous.

  19. @aresnal-steve 11.52 – the word you’re looking for Steve is ‘negative’, not critical. There are plenty of posts where I have stated how things could have been done differently. Unlike you though, I am aware that I don’t know better than the professionals running the club so I try to be humble even when I am being critical – there’s always another way of doing it and just because you use a whole lot of negative words in your sentences does not somehow make yours the right one. This is not a forum for venting your frustrations mate, get your own blog if you wish to do that.

  20. mystic on said:

    ‘ If Van Persie does not believe Arsenal can challenge next season, he should be moved on swiftly and focus shifted to players who are committed to the cause.’

    I just don’t get that kind of comment. If Arsenal are to become more successful they need to add quality NOT replace it. If it means holding RvP to the final year of his contract and POTENTIALLY losing him for nothing the following summer, so be it – though people who believe he will definitely leave the following summer obviously don’t think Arsenal have any hope of winning silverware next season.

    As for the ‘committed to the cause’ point, if anyone believes he will be less than 100% they are missing a major point – even if he loses interest in Arsenal he would do everything to stay in the limelight for potential suitors.

    The ideal thing would be for him to sign an extension, but regardless of whether he does or doesn’t the prospect of Arsenal on the pitch far outweighs the feelings of an individual.

  21. Barbes13 on said:

    I’m also disappointed with the fifth position given to Arteta cause his work rate has really balance arsenal midfield and so deserve third. well why worry about RVP i am positive he will surely stay at arsenal. but we need M’villa as an assistant to song.

  22. matt on said:

    Honestly I’m disappointed wit your comment on RVP, why must a geniue call for a change be regarded as lack of commitment. Are u sincerely happy wit our current squad? Let’s leave RVP alone and do our own part, sign the necessary players in every dept of the team. If at the end of day RVP decides to leave, then the whole team and the world at large will know his not committed to the club.

  23. timgeschwindt on said:

    Not in agreement at all. When we have a world class player in Robin (who is by the way the last world class player we have, with jack not fully developed) i think its reasonable for him to say “prove to me that i have a chance of winning something”… he has the ability to have trophies galore but the poor man misses out consistently. I hope he does force Wenger the spend, the old bastard wont otherwise.

  24. @mystic 13.23 – I wrote a post six weeks ago where I felt Arsene would try to hold on to RvP even if he doesn’t extend ( But I think it would be unwise because if he can’t replicate this season’s form (and there’s no guarantee he can), we would not only take a financial hit but also lose a year.

    @matt 13.39 – This article is in no way suggesting that improvments to the squad should not be made. And it’s silly to suggest Arsenal don’t do this because we do. I am only challenging whether RvP (or any player for that matter) should be allowed to judge which players are crap and which players are exceptional – after all, he was always talented but only in the last two seasons has he himself been acknowledged as world class.

    @tim 13.47 – ‘the last world class player left’ – So you are suggesting that Szczesny, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Sagna, Gibbs, Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Walcott and Gervinho are all crap? Should we take your opinion on that or RvP’s?

    RvP wanting to know which players we are targetting is one thing. But if he’s not convinced that the additions would make a difference to our title challenge, Arsenal should not hold onto a player who is not completely focused.

    NOTE: I have the highest respect for RvP and wish him luck whether he stays at Arsenal or not – this article is not trying to belittle his contribution. You may not agree and that’s fair, but I feel players should play and managers should manage.

  25. Yes. Arteta is a machine, for me I put him no 2 behind RVP. Look our team performance when he’s present and during injury. Arteta know what do in the picth even to change the game for winning. Believe me or not, the fact is that MA is a machine.

  26. mystic on said:

    @Maverick Gooner – there isn’t a single player out there whom one could guarantee 100% as able to replicate the season gone – and that includes even Messi. Assumptions have to be made and risks have to be taken.

    Almunia knocked Lehmann out of the side – now look at him. Song was the shittest player I had ever seen in an Arsenal shirt – went on loan and now look at him. Wilshire was fantastic 2 years back, look at last season. Rosicky was injured for yonks, look at last season!

    Schevchenko was a stunning striker and then he joined chelski….. Robinho was a stunning buy for citeh, managed 14 goals in 2 seasons.

    Assumptions have to be made and risks have to be taken. Taking a punt on RvP is worth a gamble.

  27. @mystic 14.51 – You’re right, nothing is guaranteed. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly my point. Would Liverpool’s 100m spending last summer be classified as ambition or just plain stupidity? Basically, success can justify the most absurd actions and failure can disprove the most creditable acts.

  28. @mystic 14.51 – Regarding RvP, I would also like Arsenal to make him stay and play even if he doesn’t sign. But like we found out with Cesc, when push comes to shove, a player who has one eye on the exit door will subconsciously drop a level – and here we are not talking about someone like Drogba who’s at the end of his career. So cashing in seems to be the best option, and hopefully than money can be reinvested on bringing in someone else – whether that is Olivier Giroud, Fernando Llorente or Emile Heskey is what makes summers so exciting, no? 🙂

    • mystic on said:

      It is worth remebering that Cesc left for a totally different reason to the question mark over RvP.

      Fabregas moved to Barca as a fan, much in the same way that Henry returned to Arsenal. Yes Cesc wanted silverware, but more importantly he wanted a return to his childhood club.

  29. Phil on said:

    The problem of arsenal not wining trophy 4 7yrs is down 2 dubious officiating nd nonsense suspension 4rm the can a club like Arsenal play a whole season without a penalty in emirate. Another problem is that arse.should be buying an established english players so as to help their national team. If ars have upto 4 starter in their team,believe me all these decision against us will stop.but meanwhile,ars should by exp players 1mid,1att,1dfnd to convince rvp 2 stay.nxt season is ours. Gunner eternity

  30. Keeping vanpersie is d best tin dat can happen to us this season and also buyin players like m‘villa,lorente&adefender

  31. Simon on said:

    I am quite surprised when people say we’re too reliant on Van Persie for goals and that we’d be nowhere without him. At the end of the day, he is our main striker and that is his role in the team.
    It’s like telling Barcelona ‘you’d be nothing better than a mid level side because Messi’s scored 73 of your goals!’ your teams crap!!
    Or criticising Sczezney for keeping clean sheets and being the only player that seems to be saving shots on his goal.

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