Arsene Wenger has a tough decision to make over the next couple of weeks, will Mikel Arteta be his first choice defensive midfielder?
Time will tell how long it will take the Spaniard to regain his form after a chunky spell on the sidelines, but he is expected to make his first start this season against West Brom in the midweek fixture of the Capital One Cup.
He has been the most consistent Arsenal player over the two seasons he has spent in north London, and after the departure of Alex Song last summer he reinvented himself as a more defensive minded midfielder. But the problem is (not necessarily something bad), Mathieu Flamini has proven to be an instrumental figure in the Gunners lineup recently.
The Frenchman provides some grit and aggression to the side, something that has been missing for some time. He is a more naturally defensive player than Arteta and has finally filled the void of the defensive midfielder we have been calling for. Flamini also has added more leadership and experience to the midfield that was missing with the border-line veteran Spaniard unavailable. Admittedly it will difficult to leave out the vice captain for too long, especially after a few weeks of full training under his belt and if he performs well against WBA this week.
Aaron Ramsey has cemented himself in the box-to-box role, consequently nudging Wilshere out wide, while Flamini also looks un-rotatable in the Premier League at present. But with games coming thick and fast, including Champions League games, there will be some minor rotation from Saturday onwards.
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Wenger will not want to change a winning team, but fatigue will force him to do so eventually. For the time being it seems that Arteta will have to get used to some bench time until (heaven forbid) Flamini or Ramsey pick up a knock.
An interesting point to add is both Arsenal’s club captain and vice captain are essentially not first choice players at present, sure that can change in an instant, but that even further reinforces the leadership that is demonstrated from the likes of Mertesacker, Sagna and Flamini in their absence to help guide Arsenal to wins in recent weeks.
What are your thoughts Gooners? If Arteta puts in a decent performance in mid week, do you think he should replace Flamini in the lineup against Swansea this weekend? Comment below…