What will be Santi’s role with Özil out injured?
It’s going to be a long few months without Mesut Özil. He is without doubt the heart of this team and was just getting back to full fitness as we got into the meat of the season but his opportunity to shine has been taken away and now that gauntlet has fallen to our Spanish magician, Santi Cazorla.
He’s had a rather mediocre season last year that was saved by some really good form from March onwards and I believe he’s carried that on into this season. We’ve played some of our best football when he’s started and that’s no coincidence. He offsets Sanchez’s explosiveness with calm, controlled football.
With Özil gone, Cazorla is a guaranteed starter now but what will his role be? I believe he’ll occupy the wide left role in the 4-1-4-1 formation Wenger has adopted. I think that’s a positive as Santi is better personally on the left than Mesut. That’s mainly because he understands how to defend in wide positions far better than the German.
I can also see him being deployed at times in central midfield as he was against Chelsea. He provides a good drive from midfield and is able to quickly turn to our attack and provide them with the correct passes. Wilshere isn’t as refined in that department although he adds a lot more in other areas of the pitch.
Although Santi is aging and is almost 30, he offers a lot to this squad. He’ll definitely be an adequate replacement for Mesut as he recovers and he may be better suited to this particular formation we’re playing at the moment. Only time will tell…