By Joe Brewin

Mikel Arteta says the spirit at Arsenal has even exceeded his own high expectations.

Arteta has proved an integral part of Arsène Wenger’s first team since joining from Everton last summer and he scored his fifth Arsenal goal in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

The midfielder arrived when Arsenal were at a low ebb and he believes the squad’s camaraderie helped them climb the table.

“To be honest I was really surprised with the spirit when I came here - even when we were down it was so good,” Arteta told Arsenal Player. “It is something you rely on because if you start blaming each other and shouting at each other it is not good.

“This group has always been positive, the manager has always been positive with the players and we have kept at it. We have the talent, we know we have the ability to win games and sometimes it is just about the balance in confidence. We have it all together now.”

Arteta’s goal, a 30-yard free-kick, capped Arsenal’s seventh straight victory in the Premier League. But what is his secret?

“I don't know, I was just confident,” said the Spaniard. “I had my family here as well and I wanted to score for them. 

“Robin takes them really well too and he takes a lot of the free-kicks. When you come to a new club it is not easy. When I was at Everton I used to take all of them and score many goals from free-kicks. But it was nice to score against Villa in that way.

“When you are winning, life is good and you can see that the fans are enjoying it at the moment. They deserve it as well because they were behind us when things weren't going right.

“Hopefully we can finish the season strongly because we have a group of players and staff who really mean business.”

Watch the full interview with Mikel on Arsenal Player now.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
26 Mar 2012