Monday, July 01, 2013

Santi Cazorla - Talisman in the making?

No football fan in the world will say that the game is all trophies and cheers, it is more about being loyal to the club you love through thick and thin. Gooners all over the world will vouch for this statement. Having been loyal to the red side of North London through the last 8 years without a trophy, the last thing the fans needed was to see their skipper leave for domestic rivals, Manchester United. The club and fans soon realised that the problem was not getting over the loss of a loved captain, but finding a player up front who could fill Robin Van Persie’s shoes and control the game making sure the team moved inclusively towards the goal.

Arsenal were given a rare gift at the beginning of the season when they signed a lesser known Spanish midfielder from Malaga for a fee of £15 million. Santiago ‘Santi’ Cazorla was underestimated by the gooners for his miniature stature. He did not look like someone who could mercilessly kill teams off with his skill and his eye for the goal, and that's exactly what he did. He served Arsene Wenger and the club tirelessly this season playing in every single league match for Arsenal. He scored an impressive 12 goals from the midfield along with 11 assists. The goals Santi netted proved to be match winners, the hat-trick against Reading which gave the Gunners a 2-5 away win, proved to the fans and the club that they had found a rare talent in the Spainard. 

When Arsenal completed the signing of Cazorla alongside the much awaited Podolski, it was assumed the Spaniard’s stay at the Emirates would be overshadowed by the German’s ability to find the net so prolifically. Fans and the media couldn’t have been more wrong. Cazorla announced his arrival in the third game of the season when his goal lead the Gunners to a 0-2 away win at Anfield flooring Liverpool in their backyard. Santi took the London rivalry seriously scoring against West Ham and Tottenham leading the team to victories on both the occasions. He further cemented his reputation as a new-found talent by finding the net against the two historic powerhouses of English football, Liverpool and Manchester United. 

Along with the success and exposure at Arsenal, Cazorla’s international career started to look up. Noticed by many as a midfielder who had a great impact on the final result, Vincente Del Bosque used him well in the World cup qualifying, International friendlies and also the ongoing Confederations cup. The La Liga Spanish Player of the season 2006/07 was deemed to fit the share the midfield with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso and many more decorated superstars, showing the potential the man has within. If Arsenal use the midfielder’s versatility and creativity to the maximum, he will change the fortunes of the London club. The fringe battles for a Top-4 finish will be days long gone. 

Arsene Wenger should build the team around Cazorla. Using him to feed a prolific striker will be the lethal combination the Gunners will find most useful come next season. The signing of Gonzalo Higuain will be a big step towards this end. Arteta already brings considerable experience to the midfield which will become a much more sturdy unit with the addition of Jack Wilshere and in-form Gervinho. Cazorla has had an excellent pre-season as part of Spanish that has achieved World Cup Qualification and the final of the Confederations cup furthering their claims of invincibility. Exploiting the Spaniard’s potential will allow Arsene Wenger to hold on to his reluctance to break the bank for more glamorous signings. Santi Cazorla can be the key to unleash a realistic title challenge next season. He is the next Talisman for Arsenal.

[Article written by Vidur Kalive]


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