Santi Cazorla has missed Arsenal’s last 14 Premier League matches due to injury and former Chelsea player Pat Nevin believes the Gunners aren’t the same team without him. However, new stats from daily fantasy football game www.oulala.com paint a different picture.
The Spaniard has been touted as the club’s main creative spark in midfield, and has been talked about as being irreplaceable as his contract nears its end, but the stats reveal that we score no less goals without his inclusion, and pick up almost as many points.
Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey have been sharing the central roles in Santi’s absence, and we have climbed up to second place since the Spaniard fell foul of injury, and are now the biggest challengers to Chelsea in the hunt to lift the Premier League title.
Cazorla currently has no return date having had a number of setbacks, after initially being expected to return after the international break back in November.
Granit Xhaka got himself sent off unnecessarily at the weekend, while Elneny is off at the African Cup of Nations at present, which will likely leave us with Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin for the next couple of league outings, but I expect one of our younger squad members will get called up for the FA Cup match with Southampton next weekend.
As much as the stats claim we haven’t really missed him, we most certainly do with the extra numbers with the lack of options available in the centre at present, although the balance between Le Coq and Ramsey may well prove to work well.
Do we really lack something when Cazorla is out?