By Nick Ames

Mikel Arteta can’t wait for next week’s game at Everton to come around – and admits that returning to his old club will be a strange experience.

The Spaniard spent six and a half years with the Goodison Park club before joining the Gunners last August, and he returns in opposing colours for the first time when Arsenal line up there next Wednesday.

Arteta has never hidden his affection for the Toffees, and is hopeful that there will be plenty of mutual respect on show when he walks out in a red shirt.

“Visiting Everton next week will be really special for me,” he told

“It’s going to be weird to sit in the other changing room, warming up in the opposite half of the pitch and having the crowd against us. I just want to enjoy it.

“I really can’t wait to go there, and I hope I’ll get a good reception because I gave Everton everything I had in my time there and I love the club. Everyone there was great to me and, even though I left, hopefully people understood. There’s no reason for any of us to be unhappy with each other.”

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14 Mar 2012