Santi Cazorla broke the deadlock to set Arsenal on their way to a straightforward 3-0 victory over Manchester City, in the Community Shield on Sunday. That strike is contributing to initial hints that he could find his tread rapidly this campaign, as opposed to the previous season.
In the summer transfer window last year, the marquee acquisition of Mesut Özil for a club record deal in the region of £42.5 million pounds hindered Cazorla’s self-assurance. The Spaniard was evidently distressed that he had been virtually replaced and following rumours of a return to his native country he knuckled down and eventually fought for a spot in the starting line-up.
However, to begin with, he was relegated to the bench as Özil was integrated as the main man. The German had a dream debut day against Sunderland, where he claimed an assist with a deft touch and incisive pass for Olivier Giroud to steer home.
But, it’s worth noting, Santi’s significance to Arsenal should not be underestimated. No other player had been selected as often for the Gunners first-team in the 2012/13 term. In his debut season for the North London outfit, he was present in all of his side’s 38 leagues fixtures, with 37 starts and one feature off the bench.
Also, his unrivaled set-piece capability and ambidextrous nature is a sporadic facet of his game, that very few can boast of (Christian Eriksen comes to mind).
It’s noticeable that his purpose to get more goals this season is apparent. Therefore, I trust he can kick start his Premiership tally when Arsenal face Crystal Palace on Saturday 16th August at the Emirates Stadium.
It’s an aspect of his game he’s always tried to progress. In his final season at Malaga, he netted eleven times and it was palpable that his target was to surpass that minor feat.
Mind you, that’s a fine accomplishment for a midfielder. But I believe he can score more and improve in that characteristic of his game, this season.
Various circumstances affect how many goals you can score, and with players the caliber of Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere establishing a triumvirate with the 29 year-old, you get the feeling Cazorla will improve as an individual and ultimately that will lead to the team making him better too.
They’ll all work in tandem and they must come together to become a collective unit. All the above-mentioned will result in Cazorla finding the net frequently.
Cazorla’s canny passing and eye for goal from distance continuously leaves Arsenal fans elated. Moreover, you need a type of player like him in your team to unlock the tightest defences.
With Özil yet to return to full match fitness following his triumphant World Cup and Theo Walcott currently still sidelined, Cazorla can inflict mayhem in the final third, at least for the opening few games. Only time will tell if he can make the most of this blessing in disguise to cement a starting role this season.
In fact, it is his versatility that saved him last term when the former two suffered injury in the second half of the season, after winter. How ironic is that?
Deployed on either flank or through the middle at No. 10, he got many games under his belt as he pulled the strings as the Gunners’ key creator, as well as scoring some goals on the road to 4th place.
Cazorla regained confidence and was relishing his combination with the recovered Ramsey, (who also got injured in January).
His negative attitude reverted to an enthusiastic outlook and intrepid approach – and when Özil returned to the fray and recaptured his early season form, their partnership was also joy to behold for those connected with the side.
He has already expressed his desire to stay at the team, amid interest from Atletico Madrid in Spain and he is fully focused on the tests they will come across, which only bodes well for the near future. Not to mention the backing he has from everybody.
If Arsenal is to hit the ground running and mount a serious title challenge this time round, the former Villarreal man has the astuteness and aptitude to be immensely instrumental.