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Will Mikel Arteta be confined to a bench role?

Arsenal received a boost this week as Mikel Arteta returned to full training after being out for a month with a thigh injury.

Manager Arsene Wenger stated in his press conference that the Spanish midfielder will be in contention for Sunday’s game at home to Stoke City.

If he is fit then how will Arsene Wenger use him in the game? With the Arsenal midfield playing as well as it is at the moment I can’t see him starting the match this weekend, frankly I doubt he will go straight into the first team when everybody is in such good form.

You would expect that Arsenal will be in a position to close out the game at some point on Sunday and this is where I think that Arteta will be used, Wenger would bring him on to tighten everything up and see the game out.

The only problem would be if the Gunners have to chase the game at some point and Arteta does not provide a huge amount in the attacking third, players like Özil and Cazorla could change a game but the same can’t be said for Arteta.

In normal circumstances I’m sure Wenger would be very tempted to rest him all together and let him have some game time next week in the Capital One Cup against West Brom.

The injury situation will very much dictate his decisions, on Wednesday night against Marseille there were very few experienced players on the bench his presence there on Saturday would be much more assuring.

It’s disappointing for a player that has been so important to the team since he arrived on the August deadline day in 2011 to be left out of the starting lineup but if Arsenal want to challenge for major honours they can’t start Arteta every single game, no matter how well liked he is with the fans.

If the next few transfer windows go to plan then Arteta could find himself confined to a bench role though I’m sure he can be a success coming off the bench.

image: © wonker

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