Looking back at a rather resilient victory against Burnley at Turf Moor in which Arsenal kept a clean sheet, it is not much of a surprise to see Francis Coquelin be named the Man of the Match and praised extensively by pundits and Arsenal fans alike. Now while there is no denying that the Frenchman does indeed deserve that title, I did stumble upon something as I watched the game again, there was another ‘enforcer’ in midfield, and that was Santi Cazorla!
Yes, we all saw him dashing forward with the rest of the Arsenal attack, trying to play defence-splitting balls and taking the odd shot at goal, but that was only when Arsenal had the ball! When Burnley were in possession, the diminutive Spaniard sat alongside Coquelin and acted like an additional shield for the Arsenal back-four, and he did a very good job of it as well! In addition to the offensive side of his game, Santi was also seen getting on the end of loose passes, making tackles and even tracking midfield runners during Burnley attacks.
In recent games, maybe as a result of all the injuries in central midfield, we have seen Santi being deployed there and he really has shown another element of his game which I’m sure most Gooners never knew existed. While it may take away some of his sheer artistry in attacking, the bigger picture is that he’s doing a job for the team and he’s doing it very well. It really is a joy to see a player full of flare and artistry get stuck in and contribute to the defensive aspect of the game like Santi did yesterday.
Now we all know that his favorite position is being the Number 10, but instead of moaning about not being deployed there like so many players we’ve seen in the past, he is simply doing the job he’s asked to do and is giving it nothing less than his full commitment, and I believe that speaks volumes of his character. It really is nice to see that we’ve got quite a few players of the same fold in the squad, Ramsey, Rosicky, Sanchez, Welbeck and I can go on and on. With the team spirit so high and with the Gunners on a roll at the moment, you really cannot help but dream about what we can achieve next season.