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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Wenger: Arteta is adapting

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has praised Mikel Arteta and believes the Spaniard is adapting to the Gunners' style of play.

Arteta, 29, joined Arsenal on transfer deadline day from Everton for a fee in the region of £10 million and has impressed for the Gunners since the switch.

The Spanish midfielder netted his first goal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday to seal a 3-0 win over West Brom, and Wenger has hailed the quality of his summer signing.

"He is an important player for our team," Wenger told the club's official website. "He is really a player between Song and Ramsey or Rosicky and that gives us continuity.

"When we need to keep the ball he can achieve that - Jack [Wilshere] can do that as well. But with Jack missing he is a player who can keep the ball when it is needed.

"He is adapting to our game. If you look at the stats in the Premier League, Arsenal are the team who play the least balls backwards.

"That means when you have the ball it is not only a question of decision-making, it's a question of opportunity. It's about how many players you have in front of you - if you have players behind you have to play it backwards."

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