Alexandre Lacazette can repeat Mikel Arteta trick after being named new Arsenal captain

Mikel Arteta remains the last Arsenal captain to oversee a top four finish in the Premier League.

Well, technically speaking as the Spaniard took over the armband from Thomas Vermaelen in the summer of 2014 after the central defender had completed a move to La Liga giants Barcelona.

“It will be No 1, Arteta and No 2, Mertesacker,” then-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed.

Arteta‘s run as Gunners captain lasted two full seasons and in that time he lifted the Community Shield twice as well as the FA Cup in 2015 alongside Per Mertesacker following the 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the final.

But despite the honour of being named Arsenal captain, Arteta wasn’t seen wearing the armband too often.

This was because injuries limited him to just 26 appearances across all competitions during his two seasons as captain, although his final outing against Villa was a special occasion for two reasons.

One being it was his last ever appearance as a footballer as he retired after the game and almost had the perfect send-off when his effort went in off the crossbar – only to go down as a Mark Bunn own goal.

The other reason was that the Gunners were able to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur in the table to finish second in the table after an amazing turn of events at St James’ Park.

Arteta would not have known it when he left the Emirates Stadium turf that afternoon, but that is the last time Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League.

Mikel Arteta applauds the Arsenal supporters after his final appearance against Aston Villa in 2016. (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta applauds the Arsenal supporters after his final appearance against Aston Villa in 2016. (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Four players have since been named permanent Arsenal captain since Arteta’s retirement, of them all, Laurent Koscielny has come closest to sealing the club’s place back at Europe’s top table.

In fact, the Frenchman had two bites at the cherry during Unai Emery’s only full season as Gunners head coach as the side were pipped to a top four finish by Spurs and then lost the Europa League final against Chelsea.

Now it’s the turn of another Frenchman to try and end Arsenal’s more than half a decade-long absence from the Champions League.

Ahead of the clash with Wolves, Arteta confirmed that Alexandre Lacazette will remain captain for the rest of the season, thus replacing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was stripped of the armband in December for disciplinary reasons prior to his move to Barcelona last month.

“Laca is the captain at the moment yes,” the Arsenal manager confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday morning and in making this decision, history could repeat itself.

Like Arteta at the end of the 2015/2016 season, Lacazette is expected to leave Arsenal when the current campaign draws to a close as his contract expires in June and there’s talk of him rejoining Lyon.

If the striker’s farewell is on par with Arteta’s from six years ago and the Gunners end up winning the top four battle then it would be the perfect parting gift.

Although should Lacazette be unable to repeat Arteta’s trick, he’s already named four potential candidates to take over from his as captain when he leaves.

“There is some future captains,” he told “Gabriel, big Gabi, has got presence, leadership at the back. I think when he’s going to be more fluent with English, it will help a lot.

“Ben White as well, he’s more quiet maybe, but by the way he plays he can be a good leader and maybe with edge can build up.

“Sambi Lokonga, but he’s already been a captain in the past so it’s not hard to say he can be a good captain. Kieran as well because I think he’s been a captain as well in the past for the national team a few times. You can see some future captains, or leaders.”

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