Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil are two of the Arsenal players that were most in need of a good rest during the international break and Arsene Wenger would have been hoping for them both to be fresh and raring to go for the crunch game with Liverpool.
But Ozil played 90 minutes in both of Germany’s games while Cazorla played in both of Spain’s games, completing 76 minutes for them on Tuesday night. That combined with the probable availability of Danny Welbeck and the certain availability of Aaron Ramsey suggests to me that one of our creative midfielders will start on the bench later, but which one?
With Welbeck and Ramsey in form and more comfortable and natural in the wide forward and box-to-box midfield roles, the German and the Spaniard will contend for the number 10 role. Both have been in great form for the Gunners so it is a tough call for the manager but perhaps the statement by Cazorla this week, reported by the Daily Mail, admitting that he was aware of Atletico Madrid’s transfer interest, will prove to swing the balance in his favour.
Santi said, “I’ve heard (about Atletico’s interest), like everybody. But at the moment there is nothing concrete, only rumours. I don’t worry about that.
“I’m focused on Arsenal, where I am very happy. I have another year on my contract and the option for one more.
“As long as I feel valued, I will continue here. Although you never know what the future will bring in football.
“I live in Hampstead, 15 minutes from the training ground, and it’s really nice.
“It’s the perfect place for my kids to go to school… very calm. They’re picking up the language quickly, which is really important for me and my wife.”
Cazorla is not exactly making demands here but that bit about feeling valued and not knowing what the future holds seems to me to be a none too subtle reminder to the boss to keep him in the starting line-up. What do you guys think?