Mikel Arteta's greatest Arsenal moments | News

29 days ago

Ahead of our final match of the 2023/24 Premier League season on Sunday, our global betting partners Betway reflect on Mikel Arteta’s finest moments as an Arsenal player and manager, as we go forward together and prepare to fight until the very end.

First match as Arsenal captain

Mikel’s first game wearing the armband for Arsenal lives long in the memory for a different reason.

We faced Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup in 2012, and a largely cagey game at Emirates Stadium became a historic one when the winning goal was scored by Thierry Henry.

Henry was making his first appearance since returning to Arsenal five years after departing for Barcelona in 2007. The Frenchman latched onto an Alex Song through ball and slid home a trademark finish into the far corner, netting his 227th goal for the club and sending us through to the fourth round.

It was a big night for everyone involved with Arsenal, and particularly for first-time captain, Mikel, who would go on to become our full-time skipper from 2014 until he ended his playing career in 2016.

Scoring the winner against Manchester City

The finest goal of Mikel’s time as an Arsenal player came at the perfect moment.

With just three minutes remaining in our home Premier League match against Manchester City, Mikel took the ball away from an opposition midfielder and fired in a low shot from 25 yards out.

It was a goal we fully deserved after hitting the woodwork on three occasions – twice through Robin van Persie and once through Theo Walcott.

Mario Balotelli was sent off for City in the final minutes, and Mikel’s goal proved the difference as we earned three crucial points in our pursuit of a Champions League spot.  

Beating Hull in the 2014 FA Cup final

Mikel led us to Wembley as captain in 2014 as we hunted our first major trophy in nearly a decade.

Having beaten Wigan Athletic on penalties in the semi-final – in which Mikel scored our first spot-kick – we met Hull City in what would become one of the most dramatic FA Cup finals in recent memory.

A slow start saw the Tigers take a shock 2-0 lead within the first nine minutes, and just as it seemed our long wait for a trophy might continue, Santi Cazorla scored a fantastic free-kick to bring us back into the game.

Laurent Koscielny made it 2-2 in the second half, and Aaron Ramsey fired home in injury time to complete a remarkable comeback. After the final whistle, Mikel climbed the famous Wembley steps and lifted his first trophy in English football.

Winning the FA Cup in 2020

Mikel got his hands on a trophy for the first time as a manager in August 2020, just eight months after returning to Arsenal in his new role.

After a cup run that included wins over Leeds United, Bournemouth, Sheffield United and a stunning 2-0 semi-final victory over Manchester City, we travelled to Wembley to take on a Chelsea side that had already beaten Liverpool and Manchester United on their way to the final.

Christian Pulisic put Frank Lampard’s side ahead after just five minutes, but our players responded brilliantly. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who scored twice in the semi-final – brought us level from the penalty spot in the 28th minute before doubling his tally in the second half with a classy chip over the Chelsea goalkeeper.

Aubameyang’s man-of-the-match performance earned us a record 14th FA Cup – our fourth in seven years – and saw Mikel deservedly end his first season as head coach with a trophy after an incredible cup run.

Dramatic 3-2 win over Bournemouth

The most memorable moment of the 2022/23 season undoubtedly came in our comeback win over Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium in March.

Reiss Nelson’s fierce half-volley from the edge of the box deep into injury time saw us complete a miraculous turnaround and maintain our advantage at the top of the Premier League table.

After Bournemouth took the lead just nine seconds in, they then extended their advantage in the 57th minute, and we needed to dig deep to get back into the game.

Thomas Partey made it 2-1 in the 62nd minute, before Ben White brought us level with his first Arsenal goal.

We pushed and pushed for a winner and Reiss finally found the net. It was a performance that epitomised the team spirit and resilience Mikel has inspired in his side.

“It was just mad,” Mikel said after the game. “I am really proud of them. They never gave up."

1-0 win over Manchester City in October 2023

Arguably Mikel’s biggest win as a manager came in October 2023, when we beat Manchester City in a thrilling fixture at home in the Premier League.

Having defeated City 4-1 on penalties in the Community Shield two months earlier, Arsenal supporters arrived at Emirates Stadium hopeful for another victory.

In a tight, tactical battle, it looked as if we would have to settle for a draw. Then, a long ball from Thomas Partey was headed down by Takehiro Tomiyasu to Kai Havertz, who controlled the ball and laid it off to Gabriel Martinelli. The Brazilian fired a shot at goal from outside the box, which deflected off a defender and into the net, sparking wild celebrations.

All four of Mikel’s substitutes combined to finally break the deadlock for his first league win over Manchester City. 

Copyright 2024 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.

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