I loved Andrey Arshavin when he first joined. He was always prepared to try the outrageous and had the talent to pull it off. He scored by far the greatest goal I have seen at the Emirates when he stroked in that winner against Barca – and don’t underestimate the finish, it was top drawer and he was probably the only player in the side that would have put it away.
But sadly my little Russian friend has gone off the boil and doesn’t even make our bench these days … but being a fickle fan, he has been replaced in my affections by another 5 foot 6 inches of footballing genius.
Santi Cazorla is the type of footballer that we have become accustomed to under Arsène Wenger. He’s a pocket sized bundle of football trickery. He plays the game with a smile on his face and magic in his feet.
Like AA, Santi will see 3 defenders lining up against him as an opportunity not a dead end. His vision, range of passes and ability to use both feet to equal effect are key to his success – but it should also be acknowledged that his work rate is terrific and an example to all those who play around him.
But beyond all this, the point of this short post is to highlight the fact that he is improving as a goalscorer as each year passes. He has doubled his strike rate since joining Arsenal compared to his year at Malaga.
2003 – 2006, Villareal, 40 apps, 4 goals = 0.1 goals per game
2006 – 2007, Recreativo, 34 games, 5 goals = 0.15 gpg
2007 – 2011, Villareal, 127 games, 23 goals = 0.18 gpg
2011 – 2012, Malaga, 38 games, 9 goals = 0.23 gpg
2012, Arsenal, 17 games, 7 goals = 0.41 gpg
Arsenal’s future success lies in the hands of Santi, Jack and the Ox. If they can develop the understanding of each other’s movement, to instinctively know where the other will be without needing to look up, to expect the unexpected pass when weaving into the box, then the discussions about our best choice for CF will be redundant.
Arsène’s sides have always relied on creativity from the midfield. We have a new maestro, the orchestra are just fine tuning their instruments, we can play sweet music in 2013.
Hastily written by Rasp