The Arsenal and Spain international midfielder Santi Cazorla is close to being the epitome of the way the Gunners play football and have done almost since Arsene Wenger took over as the manager nearly 20 years ago. I know that a lot of us would like to have some more strength in the squad, especially at the back, as we used to have with Adams, Keown, Vieira and others, but when we play well, it is the silky skills of players like Cazorla that does the business.
And when we play against teams with a completely different philosophy, like Bolton under Sam Allardyce then it really does become a clash of styles. That applies to today’s opponents Stoke City, no matter who is in charge, and the Potters’ brand of football certainly came out on top at the Britannia stadium a month or so ago.
But that is no reason for Arsenal to change our approach, according to Cazorla. The tricky Spaniard has been speaking to Arsenal Player in the build up to this big game and big chance for us to get revenge and he clearly feels that the Gunners simply have to stick to our guns and play our own style of football well to get the right result.
Santi said, “They are a very physical team with good players. Set-pieces and the second ball will always be dangerous for us. We need to focus on our game.
“[The defeat] was strange because we were losing 1-0 in the first 30 seconds and we can’t do that. We need to concentrate because they are very dangerous from long balls and [dealing with that is] key for us in this game.
“They are trying to play with the ball a little bit more but they are still strongest from long balls and set-pieces.
“It’s very important to get the points at home. When we play at home, we enjoy ourselves and we are stronger.”
So the message from Cazorla to his team mates is clear; play the game the way we know how and believe in our superior quality. Oh and while we are at it try to defend a bit better as well. Is beating Stoke really as simple as that for AQrsenal?