What Now After Cazorla’s Injury Relapse?

Another person who have been on the treatment table and whose comeback was on the lips of all Arsenal faithful was Santiago Cazorla. The Spaniard maestro was injured during our home game against ludogoret with the very last kick of his in that match. Arsenal won 6-0 at Emirates stadium. His return would have been a breath of fresh air into our midfield which has been lacklustre in his absence. So much has been written about his immense input in the team that saying he makes us tick would be an understatement. He’s always at the heart of every thing good about Arsenal style of play in recent seasons, hence news about his being back to fitness would have lifted the spirit of the team and fans alike. However, the BOMBSHELL of a news that hit the goonersphere yesterday was that he is expected to undergo a surgery to repair his Achilles, which should set his recovery date back by at least 3 months.

‘Santi himself wants to get out of that vicious circle of going out and coming in again. He just wants to cure it’ -Arsène Wenger 

Well, what now after this devastating news? How will Arsenal team fare in his much prolonged absence, seeing that no other player currently in the team is capable of lacing his boots? In my opinion, Arsène has 3 options;

  • Buy a replacement in the January transfer window. But seeing that most players available in the January transfer window are hardly of the quality that will improve any top team, it’s understandable why Arsène is no fan of that period. Teams do not sell their top players in January. 
  • Make do with the players at his disposal until summer or Cazorla returns. No other player in the team brings out the best of Arsenal like Santi does. If Arsène will make do with these players, he might want to tweak the system of Arsenal’s play a bit. Otherwise I don’t see anyone at the moment who can offer half of what Cazorla brings to the team.
  • Recall our players on loan. This for me is the most realistic option. Jack Wilshere would have done a good job in Santi’s absence if he was fit and rearing to go. But he’s not and at Bournemouth he’s getting the needed playing time to return to the level we expect of him, hence he’s not the best choice. Another player who I think can fill that void left by Cazorla is his fellow Spanish prodigy Jon Toral who is on loan at Granada in the Spanish La Liga. Not much have been said or heard of him, but this lad-in my opinion-is Cazorla’s natural heir. He knows when to move forward or drop deep, pops up at any part of the pitch to diffuse pressure with ease. His guile and movement off the ball is second to none. He is an excellent passer of the ball, and will always provide the attacking outlet. He also has a good eye for goal. His work rate is also very impressive. These are just some of the important qualities Santi brings to this Arsenal side. Toral was the best player for Birmingham last 2 seasons when he played on loan for them in the championship. He repeated the same feat at Brentford last season where he made a total of 34 appearances. It’s little wonder Arsenal snapped him up from Barcelona academy setup along with Hector Bellerin a few years ago.

These are some of the options available to Arsenal as we wait for our little Spaniard, who is such a joy to watch, to undergo his surgery and rehab.  Here is to Santi’s successful operation and a quick recovery. COYG!

-Fair Play Gooner.


      European Success Will Not Be A Picnic.

      Fans and critics alike are up slabbing off Arsenal for a potential 2nd place UCL group stage finish in this year’s competition after a 2-2 draw at the Emirates stadium with PSG gave the visitors a slight advantage over Arsenal. Inasmuch as I didn’t like the draw one bit, I must admit that it was far from a soft match. PSG are a team with artists and specialists in almost every position, making them a very difficult opponents to play against. It doesn’t mean they are unbeatable, far from it, but they are no pushover either.

      What I have come to realise is that Arsenal is very marketable; write anything sensational about them and it goes viral like wildfire, hence the media won’t stop looking for any crap that will get them cheap attention. In this group, we haven’t lost a single game. We have outscored PSG as at match day 5; and if not for the stupid away goal rules, we are on top. So what’s the big deal?

      “Sometimes you go through spells when you win a bit less..”

      “…we have a special strength in the squad, a consistency in results, we are unbeaten in 18 games..”

      ..but we have to continue without losing and transform draws into wins.” -Arsène Wenger

      Spurs crashed out the other day from a shitty group and it was no news. 

      Now their argument is that as usual, Arsenal would be paired with a group topping team in the knock out round, hence won’t progress. It is pure fallacy and very unreasonable. Please don’t say that to them because they will tell you Arsenal haven’t progressed from knockout round for 6 consecutive years. Well wait until we fail to progress this year before sending us all to hell. This competition is meant to be the gathering of elites, of competitive teams who relish challenges; not some glory hunters who want to stroll to the final and play a team as wonderful as Hull City. In every competition, one has to beat the best to be the champion. Istanbul 2005 should come to mind.

      This season’s champions league should be a true marker on how much the ARSENAL team have progressed. I am in no way saying we shall win it as we are far from the favourites, but that should not stop us from being ambitious. I am a strong believer of this team. Arsenal are capable of producing  special moments. Who knows, we could clinch our first UEFA Champions league trophy with this new found fighting spirit we produce in patches. To all you Arsenal fans who are worried that we might not finish as group leaders; know what you wish for! The very teams you dread might finish 2nd in their various groups. Believe in your team and fear no opponent because; European success will never be a picnic! To a very good season in Europe! Cheers.

      -Fair Play Gooner

      Hector Bellerin Signs Long Term Contract With Arsenal.

                               Source : Arsenal.com 

      The Spanish RB put pen to paper today on what some papers are claiming to be a 6 years contract worth £100k/wk. This is a victory for Arsène and Arsenal in so many ways.

      It’s a statement of intent to other European superpowers that we are no more a selling club who serve as their academy. Before now, FC Barcelona have been tapping him up just like they did Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song. Manchester city were also interested and would have offered him tonnes of money to sway his mind, but Arsène maintained that his long term future was at Arsenal.

      “So we try to extend, certainly, his contract. For me, his long term future is here” 

      -Arsène Wenger

      Secondly, it’s a victory for Arsenal because our ideals are still relevant even in an era where buying, as opposed to developing youngsters is the order of the day for most European super powers. Rewind back four years ago, no one cared about a young teenager from Barcelona’s academy who arrived at London with zero reputation. Fast forward four years, he’s the best Right back in England  and arguably the best in Europe. 

      He’s still only 21 years of age, hence his best years are ahead of him. Hector’s stats speaks for him; directly involved in 9 goals in 44 appearances across all competitions last term. It’s a world class performance for a right back. His pace, his positional sense, his fighting spirit, his skills, quick thinking and competitiveness set him apart as one of a kind. 

      Here’s to Hector, here is to another 6 years of scintillating Right back displays for Arsenal, here is to stamping your name as the best Right back of your generation. Congratulations!