Withing the space of just two-and-a-half weeks Arsenal are faced with a run of games that could see the current season and our hopes of success in it all but disappear or take on a very positive look indeed. So it is a period in which Arsene Wenger could do with all of his players, especially the best ones, available.
While the injury situation at our club is actually looking a lot better than it has for most of the season so far, one glaring absence from the Arsenal team for all of these big games in three competitions will be Santi Cazorla, the Spanish midfield maestro who many think transforms the Gunners from a good side into a great one, so just how much will the little magician’s influence be missed?
A Metro report shows that, somewhat surprisingly, the Gunners have the same goals scored per game ratio and the same goals conceded ratio with or without the Spaniard, but there is a big difference in the win ratios, 60 percent with Santi in the side and just 51 percent without.
We have three Premier League games coming up but you would expect the two against Watford and Hull City at home to be won. The other, however, is away to Chelsea and could see our title hopes dwindle to almost nothing if we lose, but get a huge boost if we can win. You might not think that Cazorla’s abilities were the best suited to an away game against Chelsea but with Coquelin alongside him they have been a formidable central midfield pairing for us. Plus I remember that in one of the biggest away wins in recent years for Arsenal, a couple of years ago at Man City, Cazorla was absolutely brilliant and one of the major factors in us winning.
The third competition Arsenal face in this period is the Champions League, in which we travel to Germany to play Bayern Munich on February 15th and it would be great to have Cazorla’s control for that game. It would be tough enough with him, but without him will Arsenal be heading for another early exit from Europe?
How much do you think Arsenal will miss the little man in this crucial part of the season?