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Mikel Arteta has played his last game for Arsenal, with the Spaniard giving an emotional goodbye after our 4-0 win over Aston Villa this past Sunday. He insists his departure was long overdue though, admitting that he was no longer good enough to play for Arsenal, as reported by the Mirror.
The 34-year-old has barely featured for Arsenal recently, with recurring injuries and heavy competition keeping him out of the side. While Arteta is still well respected at the club, many fans were keen to see him move on, and were glad he was being kept out of the squad.
Arteta himself clearly knew that he’d lost a step as he’d gotten older, and the fact that he was no longer playing at the highest level meant he was no longer suited for Arsenal.
“You have to be honest with yourself. That’s why I haven’t been upset with the manager [by not playing], I have been upset with myself,” he said.
“When you can’t get it right and you have been through injuries and difficult moments at this level… for me to play at this club you have to be the best in your position.
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“When you lose that, I think you should be away from this place. I have probably been here too long. In the last few months, I probably didn’t deserve to be here but at least I got the chance against Aston Villa to stay in touch with them and it has been amazing.
“For me, the standards you need to play for this club, it cannot be eight out of 10, it has to be 10 out of 10. When you cannot deliver that, it is not good enough.”
While Arteta has plenty to offer the younger players, he is certainly not the same player he once was. He seemed to be an excellent captain off the field, but on the pitch his legs had very clearly gone and he just wasn’t able to keep up with the pace of the Premier League. It’s possible that injuries aside he might still be able to compete at another club, but he’s definitely not up to the standard required at Arsenal.
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It would be great to see him stay at the club in a coaching capacity, but it seems like his future is undecided at the moment.