Arsène Failed To Sign Adequate Cover For Santi’s Position? 

Cazorla’s MOtM performance at Etihad stadium 2014/2015.

During the Arsenal vs Bournemouth press conference yesterday, Arsène discussed Cazorla. What he brings to the team, what we have missed since he got sidelined and if we have an adequate cover for him. Arsène was modest in his assessment and praise of the little maestro and assured the men of press that he has enough cover for Cazorla. In fairness, the Arsenal manager had cover for that deep lying role, but none as half effective as the Spaniard. Modesty demands that he is frugal with praises, and that one player is not singled out over the others but reality is that Cazorla has no replacement at the moment in this Arsenal team.

The Spaniard is a modern day metronome. He makes his side tick. From a deep lying position, providing the platform  for Özil and co to flourish. Those nutmegs,  brisk turn, change of play from right to left of the pitch, making himself available at the end of the pitch, deft  touches with both his feet, ability to pop up at any point of the pitch and dispel pressure with unimaginable ease, moving the ball faster into the final third of the pitch, genuine long range shooting threats; these were qualities we have missed since the ambidextrous Spaniard got sidelined with injury, effectively altering ARSENAL’S once fluid and high pressing style of play that had yielded so much success this season.

“He’s important to our technical stability in the team, to the quality of our decision-making and to our build-up from deep midfield to the high midfield,” said the boss. “That’s an important stage because it gets the ball out from the defenders” -Arsène Wenger  

We have played 7 matches in Santi’s absence and drew 4 of them. Chances created during this spell has drastically reduced. At old Trafford we had only one chance on target. Let that sink in.

There are several players who can be called upon to fill the void left by Cazorla;

  • El neny is a player who is comfortable in possession. He can knock the ball around when there is not much pressure, but do not provide much to the team going forward.The Egyptian international  is not exactly a deep lying playmaker in cazorla’s mould, as can be remonstrated by his side way passes when the team needed inspirations to break down an organised Spurs in the NLD and at old Trafford. He’s always not at the right place at the right time or available and effective in tight areas which had come to be cazorla’s trademark.
  • Granit Xhaka is a defensive minded player who is not even remotely a playmaker. He is still in his budding stage in English football and would not be burdened with the most sensitive spot in the team.
  • Aaron Ramsey is more of a box to box player than a deep lying playmaker. He can get on the end of things when in form and can chip in with the odd goals, but do not offer the same options Cazorla did offer to the team.
  • Jack Wilshere would have been the closest we can get to Santi if he was on for; but he is inconsistent now, hence his loan move to our weekend’s opponent for him to build up his fitness and get regular playing time. 

Who then is cazorla’s cover? Your guess is as good as mine. This is the one area where the club should invest on come January or during the summer transfer. At 31 he is no more a young player, so a suitable replacement should have been in place and budding by now. We need a player with guile and class that can distract defenders while our more advanced front men make dangerous runs behind opponents in the final third. We need a player who is comfortable using both his two feet with quick thinking. We need a player who can initiate a quick transition of the team from defence to attack. We need a deep lying playmaker in Cazorla’s mould to add dynamism to a side so blessed with pace and creativity. 

One thing is certain; Arsène and Arsenal failed to provide a like for like cover for the midfield dynamo. For the time being, we shall rely on the players we have, hope that Cazorla return in set date and stay injury free for the rest of the season.

-Fair Play Gooner

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