Mikel Arteta (left) battles with Patrick Vieira of Arsenal during a 7-0 hammering for Everton. PA

How a 7-0 hammering by Arsenal helped shape Mikel Arteta's early Everton career

Kevin Kilbane and Alan Stubbs recall the impact made by the young Spaniard when he first arrived at Goodison Park in 2005.

MIKEL ARTETA AND his Everton teammates thought it was mission accomplished.

Champions League qualification was secured and now was the time to celebrate.

“We went on the drink,” Kevin Kilbane recalls with a chuckle. “Mikel might not have had as much as the rest of us but he had enough.”

The 22-year-old was only on a six-month loan from Real Sociedad when he arrived at Goodison Park on 31 January 2005, but it didn’t take long to integrate into a tight-knit, eclectic squad.

He quickly formed a bond with Australian Tim Cahill and the pair became firm friends.

Manager David Moyes had lost influential central midfielder Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid a couple of weeks earlier and the Scot needed reinforcements as he chased an unlikely Champions League place.

“Gravesen is probably the best club player I played with,” Kilbane continues. “He was ill discplined without the ball, which is why Carso (Lee Carlsey) was so important. But once he was on the ball it was a different story. We needed quality to replace him and Mikel helped.”

Arteta adapted to different demands under Moyes, playing on the right, as a No.10 and in central midfield. “He was even over on the left a few times with me behind him,” Kilbane adds.

Chelsea, under new manager Jose Mourinho, raced away with the Premier League title in that 2004/05 campaign.

Arsenal and Manchester battled it out for second and third, respectively, while Everton were in a race for the top four with bitter rivals Liverpool and, bizarre as it may seem now, Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers.

The Toffees’ resurgence was all the more incredible given the season before they finished one place outside of the relegation zone – just two points behind Manchester City, who would appoint Stuart Pearce as manager on a two-year contract.

Different times, indeed.

soccer-chelsea-v-everton Kevin Kilbane in action for Everton against Chelsea. PA PA

When Everton secured a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Newcastle United on 7 May, all they had to do was wait.

Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat away to Arsenal the following day ensured their Merseyside neighbours secured top four with two games to spare – one of which just happened to be at Highbury 72 hours later.

Not that the Everton players were going to let the achievement pass them by. The were ready to celebrate.

“We all met up as a team in Liverpool city centre and made sure we enjoyed ourselves,” centre back Alan Stubbs continues.

“We overachieved as a group of players and Mikel was a big part of that.

“He bought in to what our dressing room was about, when we would go for lunch and dinners, he always made sure to be a part of it and wasn’t stand-offish at all. He wasn’t one to exclude himself.”

As the celebrations kicked on, the hangover continued in London, Arsenal demolishing Everton 7-0 – a record win under then boss Arsene Wenger.

By the time Arteta was replaced by Duncan Ferguson in the 75th minute, the scoreline was already a sobering 5-0.

Moyes made the Everton players march over to the travelling fans and apologise. Afterwards, some home truths were delivered.

“That is when personal pride came to the fore with him [Moyes],” Stubbs says. “He was not happy at all, even with qualifying for Champions League. No one wants to see their team get beaten 7-0, do they?

“That kind of performance wasn’t what we were about as a team, we always worked very hard for each other. Mikel did too, he became part of the team spirit that we had.”

soccer-fa-barclays-premiership-liverpool-v-everton-anfield Alan Stubbs (left) is booked along with Liverpool's Harry Kewell. PA PA

Kilbane sighs at the memory of that embarrassment. “Ye know, we actually had a chance on the break after a couple of minutes. Mikel had the ball and all he had to do was slide me in but he shot himself instead and it went well over.

“The worst thing about that was the fact all season the manager drove home the importance of standards and professionalism every single day. He wanted an intensity in every session and that rubbed off on the players. He set high standards for us.

“He wanted us to get the best out of ourselves by giving as much as we could every day, I think back on that time and it was all about intensity and standards, that’s why what happened against Arsenal would have hurt even more.”

Now that Arteta is manager of an Arsenal side looking to pull off a similarly remarkable feat by winning the Premier League, the visit of his old club will naturally stir different emotions.

Maybe even different memories, like the regular go karting races the squad had during that 04/05 season when they were all no match for Leon Osman.

This will be the Gunners’ game in hand in the title race, coming just over a month after Everton beat Arsenal 1-0 at Goodison Park in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge.

It is the perfect opportunity to go five points clear of City – led by Pep Guardiola rather than Pearce, of course – and re-establish a firm footing at the top of the table.

“Did I ever see him as a manager? Honestly, no,” Stubbs continues. “But I did think he would be a good coach, and the way the modern day game has gone that is what clubs look to.

Even coming in when he was young, he had that clear idea of what he wanted to do and how he wanted us to play.

“Mikel realised he had to be pragmatic under David Moyes. He bided his time, but as his stature grew among teammates and around the club, the more influential you become.

“That is also when you get greater respect from your peers. That is what top players do. They put demands on the players around them and you either deal with them or you don’t.”

Arteta is once again setting those standards, and demands, from the very top as he attempts to lead Arsenal to a first Premier League title since 2004.

He knows from past experience with Everton to only celebrate once it’s mission accomplished.

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