In the first of our mini-series analysing Arsenal's top four players of the season, our statistician reflects on Mikel Arteta's 2012/13 stats.
Mikel Arteta captained the team on 15 occasions this season, and Arsenal were unbeaten each time.
The vice-captain took the armband when regular skipper Thomas Vermaelen was left out of the starting XI, leading the team out for 10 of the last 11 games, his wealth of experience proving a massive asset during a nerve-filled run-in.
No other player in the Premier League scored more from the penalty spot
Arteta's importance to the team was obvious - he started the crucial final-day fixture at St James Park despite only being fit enough to play the first 28 minutes, still carrying the injury he picked up five days earlier against Wigan.
Looking at the stats it's easy to understand why Arsène Wenger risked the 31-year-old midfielder against Newcastle: Arsenal won only one of the five Premier League and Champions League fixtures that Arteta missed during 2012/13 (the 5-1 home win over West Ham) - that's a similar story to the previous term, when Arsenal didn't manage a league win without Arteta in the side until the final day against West Brom.
Arteta also matched his goalscoring tally of his debut season, netting another six, and again all his goals came in the Premier League. As in 2011/12, his goals often proved pivotal.
Mikel Arteta 2012/13 appearances
Taking on the main penalty-taking duties this term, he scored five out of six from 12 yards. No other player in the Premier League scored more from the penalty spot. Indeed, nobody had scored more penalties in a season for Arsenal since Gilberto converted six in 2006/07.
Arteta's penalties included two in one game against West Brom in December. Those were the only goals of that game, just as his strikes against QPR in October and Wigan in December were the difference between drawing and winning. Arsenal have won each of the past 10 games in which he has scored.
As well as six goals, he also contributed four assists (against Southampton, Southampton, Olympiacos and QPR).
Arteta made a total of 43 appearances for Arsenal in 2012/13 (all from the start) and they are broken down as follows: 34 in the league, seven in the Champions League and two in the FA Cup. He was only subbed off in three matches, and in total was on the pitch for 3,794 minutes (63 and a quarter hours) of the season, which was 78.6 per cent of the total available playing time.
Mikel Arteta 2012/13, game by game
Mikel's 12 Arsenal career goals
|Apr 13, 2013||Premier League||Norwich City||3-1||H||1|
|Mar 30, 2013||Premier League||Reading||4-1||H||1|
|Dec 22, 2012||Premier League||Wigan Athletic||1-0||A||1|
|Dec 8, 2012||Premier League||West Brom||2-0||H||2|
|Oct 27, 2012||Premier League||QPR||1-0||H||1|
|Apr 8, 2012||Premier League||Manchester City||1-0||H||1|
|Mar 24, 2012||Premier League||Aston Villa||3-0||H||1|
|Feb 4, 2012||Premier League||Blackburn Rovers||7-1||H||1|
|Dec 3, 2011||Premier League||Wigan Athletic||4-0||A||1|
|Nov 5, 2011||Premier League||West Brom||3-0||H||1|
|Sept 17, 2011||Premier League||Blackburn Rovers||3-4||A||1|
Mikel Arteta Arsenal career stats
A model of consistency in midfield, Arteta topped the Premier League charts for successful passes in 2012/13, with 2,517. In fact that is the most completed passes ever recorded for a player in a single Premier League season. His compatriot and midfield partner Santi Cazorla was fourth in his debut season.
Arteta topped the Premier League charts for successful passes in 2012/13
Arteta's pass success rate was also among the best in the league, at 91.53 per cent.
Often playing a deeper role in midfield, Arteta also impressed defensively - he made 97 interceptions in all, the fifth most in the Premier League.
Proving his status as an all-round midfielder, Arteta also won 75 tackles in the Premier League in 2012/13 - more than any other Arsenal player, 11 ahead of second placed Aaron Ramsey.
All stats correct as at May 23, 2013Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 May 2013