Why Santi is Arsenal’s Main Man

Arsenal lost more ground in the title race on Tuesday night, falling to fourth place while all rivals picked up comfortable wins. 

Largely to blame for Arsenal’s third game without a goal in the Premier League is the shambolic performances of the Arsenal midfield.

Since picking up an injury last year away to Norwich, Santi Cazorla has been severely missed in the centre of the midfield. Replaced by Aaron Ramsey, who has been playing alongside Flamini, has resulted in chaotic defending, and indecisive attacking.

Arsenal lead the league at Christmas, and picked up a reasonable 27 points from the 14 games prior to Santi’s injury. In the 10 games so far without, only 18 points have been won.

However it is the form of the team that is the most worrying issue with a lot of those points having been picked up throughout December against relegation battling sides (bar Man City). Arsenal’s run is now 4 games without a win, and 3 games without a goal. Excluding the Burnley FA Cup win.

Cazorla is a magician on the ball. The ball seems to stick to his foot as he wriggles out of every incoming tackle, and more often than not continues by finding a teammate with an incisive ball up the field.

And there you have the difference. Perhaps it goes unnoticed, and often without praise, but Santi picks the ball up deep off the defenders, and moves it on quickly to the ‘flare’ players enabling our quick flowing, counter-attacking football, sometimes chipping in with his own direct assists and goals.

But more often than not, he assists the assists. He has the mind to find Ozil quickly, who in turn can find Walcott, Sanchez, Giroud, and the back of net before the opposition can get back and stop it.

With Ramsey playing in that role, especially against Southampton, we struggled to pick the ball up and move it forward quickly. Too often Sanchez or Ozil would come deep to get that ball, and then they are out of position and the momentum has gone.

Although we still created chances against Southampton, they were not as clear cut as we usually create. And a majority of them came down to crosses, because we simply allowed Southampton’s defenders to get back behind the ball and sit deep.

Flamini is not the best defensive midfielder in the world, but he gives his all to the team, and deserves respect for what he has given the club over the years. I don’t put him at fault for the lack of what I believe Aaron should have provided going forward. However it is clear that Coquelin has the passion for that role and this team, as well as the ability to match.

We must hope and wait for a fully fit Cazorla to return to the fold as soon as possible, he should only be a few weeks away as long as he is on still on schedule.

 

Cazorla Crushes Atletico Madrid Hopes of Signing Him

Santi Cazorla has brushed aside rumours linking him with a potential move away from the club, with 2 years still left to run on the 30-year-old’s contract at the Emirates. 

The Arsenal player has been heavily linked with a move to Atletico Madrid after an impressive season at the Emirates, widely regarded as one of Arsenal’s standout players this season, helping them to retain the FA Cup and finish 3rd in the league.”

“I’m very happy at Arsenal and in the Premier League,” Cazorla told Goal. I feel loved and valued by both the team and supporters.

“Any news stories about me and Atletico Madrid are false. Currently I am just focused on Arsenal, I have two more years on my contract here and I hope to complete them.”

Despite being one of the older players in the squad, it does not show on the pitch. Arsene Wenger is renowned for not keeping on too many players into their thirties, but it looks like Santi could be one of the few exceptions as he gives so  much to the team.

Wenger has already said he intends to keep every player on for next season, and Cazorla has reiterated what we have heard from a lot of the players about pushing on in the Premier League and Champions League.

“It is very important for us to win trophies, and now we are preparing ourselves for the next season, where we want to jump up in quality and hope to fight for the Premier League and go further in the Champions League,” he said.

“If we want to fight for the Premier League we must keep the level from the second half of last season.

“I think that’s what we need to fight against Chelsea, City and United, the teams that will be stronger next season.

“Hopefully Arsenal can in future reach as high as Barcelona,” he added. “That’s the goal.

“Barcelona is the reference to the rest of world football and all of us want to be closer to them.”

 

 

Ramsey Gunning For Cazorla’s Position

Get back out wide Aaron!

Aaron Ramsey has become increasingly frustrated with being played out wide, and wants to return to a more central and defensive position alongside Francis Coquelin, where Santi Cazorla is currently playing. 

The Welsh star has spoken out about his frustration and admitted that he has had several chats with boss Arsene Wenger about it, although accepts that he has done what he has needed to for the good of the team.

“I’m not hiding away from it, I want to be playing in the middle. I’ve had chats with the manager about it. I showed at Manchester United what I’m capable of doing when I go into the middle of the park.

“But the manager said he wants me do a job out there for the moment and obviously I’ll do that for him. But I prefer to play in the middle.”

However, he was glad to return to his preferred role for the Sunderland game on Wednesday despite a jaded performance from the whole team which resulted in a 0-0 draw, making it three consecutive games without a win at the Emirates after what had been the most successful run of form at the ground since it opened in 2006.

The 24 year-old wants to play alongside Coquelin so that he can help drive the team forward, but he has performed well on the right-wing despite an arguable lack of pace, certainly compared with the likes of Walcott, Sanchez and Chamberlain, producing a very good return of goals and assists from his time spent there.

Ramsey also said the manager was very willing to chat to him about and this epitomises the good spirit there is within the team.

“Santi Cazorla is the one in my position. He’s the one who plays alongside Francis Coquelin and tries to get forward. I am trying to get that back.

“I like to get the ball and drive the team forward. I’m not a No10, playing with my back to goal. I’ll try to play between the lines now and again if the game demands that and we’re pressing quite high. That can be a dangerous position to take up.

“But I like to start from a defensive position and drive the team forward with little one-twos around players. That’s where I prefer to play.

“The manager respects ­everyone’s opinion. His door is always open, which is a good thing. He’ll have his reasons but will also respect your reasons and value your opinions.

“It’s harder to get involved in the game when you’re on the wing, which is why I don’t really enjoy playing there. I’m used to getting the ball a lot more in the middle of the park.

“I like to be involved in ­everything, in starting attacks. I’m relying on other people to get me into the game. It is a bit frustrating. I am having an impact on the game but I prefer to be much more involved.”

Yet this shows his passion and desire to play and earn back his position in central midfield at Arsenal, which can only be a promising sign from an Arsenal fans perspective given the impending rumours that are set to come about with regards to his future, with the supposed £50m bid from Barcelona probably just the beginning.