Arteta finds his feet and life looks up for Arsenal

Arsenal 3 West Bromwich Albion 0

The Emirates Stadium

If most of Arsène Wenger's flurry of signings at the transfer deadline were regarded by pundits and supporters as panic buys in the wake of the 8-2 defeat away to Manchester United, the exception was the arrival from Everton of Mikel Arteta.

Such was the Basque's hunger to play in the Champions League that he took a pay cut to facilitate the transfer, and although he started slowly at the Emirates Stadium, two months on he has removed any doubts about the wisdom of paying £10m for a 29-year-old, settling into an effective midfield trio alongside Alex Song and either Aaron Ramsey or Tomas Rosicky.

Saturday's performance was his best so far in an Arsenal shirt as Wenger's men won their fourth successive league game. "He's an important player in our team," Wenger said. "He is the player between Song and Ramsey or Rosicky that gives us continuity. With Jack [Wilshere] missing he is really a player who allows you to keep the ball when it is needed."

Alone of Wenger's summer signings, Arteta lacks international experience, but for understandable reasons. "He was born in Spain where you have plenty of midfielders who are absolutely outstanding," Wenger said. "What didn't help him maybe was that he was very young when he moved to clubs who were not as ambitious as they should have been. He moved to Rangers where it is difficult to convince managers in Spain that you deserve a chance in the Spanish national team. Then he moved to Everton, and now it shows what I always say – it's the club which makes 90 per cent of the career."

Arteta's move to Arsenal may have come too late for his international chances, but it has allowed his game and his fitness to develop in a more attacking team. Against West Bromwich Albion he was still going strong deep into the second half when a pass by Robin van Persie allowed him to shoot home from 17 yards.

"We've been working on being a bit more solid but I want to participate more on the attacking side so I'm pleased," Arteta said. "There's a lot of things to learn and I've not had a lot of time to settle. We've been under a lot of pressure to win games, we've needed results. We're playing catch-up on the other teams, we can't keep losing points and it's not easy. But we know we're a good team, we've got talent and we can still improve and make our situation better."

Arsenal remain only three points behind fourth place but Wenger maintains his perspective. "One month ago the questions we had to answer were: 'Do you face a relegation battle or not?' We are not there yet but it is much more positive. Before the win at Chelsea last week, there was still some scepticism. Suddenly Chelsea highlighted a bit that 'Oh, they are still not too bad'."

Scorers: Arsenal Van Persie 22, Vermaelen 39, Arteta 74. Substitutes: Arsenal Rosicky 6 (Ramsey, 71), Benayoun 6 (Gervinho, 72), Arshavin (Walcott, 78). West Bromwich Albion Tchoyi 5 (Gera, 63), Mulumbu 5 (Cox, 71), Thorne (Dorrans, 81). Booked None.

Man of the match Van Persie. Match rating 7/10. Possession Arsenal 59% West Bromwich 41%.

Attempts on target Arsenal 7 West Bromwich 4.

Referee M Oliver (Northumberland).

Attendance 60,091.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine