Arteta: FA Cup triumph kept Wenger at Arsenal

The Gunners captain reveals that he had begun to expect that the long-serving manager would have walked away if they had been beaten by Hull City at Wembley in May

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta believes that winning the FA Cup last season stopped Arsene Wenger from leaving the club.

The Frenchman’s 18-year tenure in north London was under scrutiny after nine years without a trophy, with delays throughout the season on a new contract, before the Gunners came from behind to beat Hull City 3-2 at Wembley.

Arteta told the Daily Mail: “He wasn’t clear with his future. He always said he wanted to stay but he didn’t sign. In the semi-final – or even in the final – we never knew what was going to happen.

“If we lost the Hull game, we’d be talking about a different story. That would have started a period of reflection and decision.

“It was a big game in Arsenal’s history. We won the first trophy in nine years. You can go from being criticised to being hailed very quickly.”

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has appeared in all five of Arsenal’s Premier League outings in 2014-15 and Arteta is excited by the midfielder’s prospects.

“The potential he has is second to none. If he really wants to, really focuses, he can go to the very top,” the former Everton man enthused. “He has the speed and skill to become an unbelievable winger but he has the vision of a midfielder and that’s very difficult to find.

“Defensively, he needs to improve but he has time and people to help him.”

Arteta also leapt to the defence of much-maligned midfielder Mesut Ozil, who has at times struggled for form since joining the Gunners from Real Madrid last summer.

“When you have players like Ozil with everything he involves – his price, his personality – people will either love him or not like him at all,” the captain remarked.

“When you’re an artist, you’re never going to perform nine out of 10 every week. It’s much more difficult for a creative player to perform at that level. The opposition always try and stop you so sometimes you don’t shine and then people ask: ‘Why don’t you shine? You didn’t do anything in the game.’

“When that happens you get criticised, especially when it happens in big games, but you cannot deny Ozil is a special player: his movement, his calmness, his final ball is superb.”

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