by Eugenia Barrionuevo and Lucas Romeo
“His technical quality, intelligence and vision is very important”. That can be the opinion of any Gunner in the world, but is not, is the Boss’s opinion. Arsene Wenger appreciate a lot the great season of Santi Cazorla, and his remarkable function in the team. Sanchez, Giroud, Mertesacker, Ospina, many greatest names make of this team a powerful one. So, Why the Spanish is so important in London? We have the answer.
The “Gunners of London” had a great season, winning the FA Cup against Aston Villa. In that match, Cazorla vindicated Wenger’s decision to keep him in the centre with a man-of-the-match award. Cazorla was magisterial at Wembley, impossible to pin down as he carried the ball dangerously and passed with precision.
The Spain midfielder had another influential season for Arsenal, claiming 7 goals and 13 assists while also adapting to a deeper position to accommodate Alexis Sanchez and Ozil in the same side. Rather than contributing goals and assists, he’s played a more withdrawn role, generally alongside Francis Coquelin in the second half of the season, and put Arsenal in control of matches with his reliable, slick passing. His ball retention, vision and experience made him a perfect foil for Coquelin.
Santi Cazorla has been outstanding since he joined Arsenal three years ago, but this season he’s impressed in a different way. With Alexis and Ozil’s arrives, the doubts around Cazorla’s titularity were high, but he works nicely in Arsenal’s system: he usually offers something between the patient passing of Mikel Arteta, and the direct distribution of Ozil.
The 2-0 Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund in November seemed to kickstart Cazorla’s season. In that match, he created both goals. More importantly, his performance was fantastic, with the Spaniard drifting across the central midfield zone and covering a huge area, regularly spraying passes out to the flank, and attempting ambitious balls into the attackers.
Arsene Wenger, the Boss, prefers to focus on the collective when he talks about his squad, but even the Frenchman found it hard to reflect on 2014/15 without lavishing praise on Santi Cazorla: "You could say that he was absolutely top, from the start to the finish, and he played more than 50 games. There were a few games this season when he was unplayable. He’s a model to watch. He’s a fantastic example that no matter how tall you are, it’s about how good you are."
But, what about the team’s opinion? Here we have some statements about he:
“I think he’s been excellent this year. We’re very happy to have a player like him in our ranks. He’s very good on the ball, as we all know, and is now very defensively strong too.” Mesut Ozil
“Santi's a little magician on the pitch. You saw him out there so many times, how he wriggles out of certain situations, and he had a very good game." Aaron Ramsey
“Santi Cazorla is a spectacular player. You never know whether he will kick the ball with his right or left foot. Also, he moves with short but quick strides, which is a remarkable trademark too. Although I knew about his quality, playing alongside him makes me very happy.” Alexis Sanchez.
Yes, maybe Alexis Sanchez scored many more goals, but Santi Cazorla’s function in Arsenal’s game plan and his performance in the pitch are very important. Also, he is good for the team chemistry, because is a great humorist, and he has a very good relationship with the players and fans.
Many teams have put an eye on him in this pre-season, but he want to stay there, in London. So, the Gunners can be calm, because they have more Santi Cazorla smiling like a clown until his shows in Emirates come to an end.