But what makes Arteta even more special than just the numbers he posted is that he voluntarily took on the deeper role in midfield this season with the departure of Alex Song to Barcelona. We tend to forget that last year Arteta was second on Arsenal for key passes (shots created for others) with 60 and he scored six goals for the club from open play, whereas this year he has just the one (v. QPR all his other goals come from penalties). Arteta gave up that role to Aaron Ramsey and in so doing helped to transform the young Welshman’s Arsenal career.
That selflessness is the hallmark of a great leader which is the other reason why I think Arteta has to be player of the year. In the depths of Arsenal’s season, when all seemed to be falling apart around the club, Arteta became the clew by which Arsene Wenger led Arsenal out of the labyrinth.
Bravo, Mikel. He was the glue that held our season together. On to ’13-’14 then.