Santi Cazorla: Arsenal’s Latest Defensive Midfielder!

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.


Tags Burnley Cazorla Coquelin


    1. Those were my thoughts exactly as I read through the article. Wenger needs to do everything possible to keep Carzola for another two years at least.

  1. arsenal squad for next season
    deb/bell mert/cham kos/gab mon/gibbs
    coq/new dm ramsey/wilshere
    ox/gnabry/walcott?? sanchez/silva

    1. Goal keeper 3
      Ospina Szseney Martinez

      Centre back 4
      Per Bosss Gabrille Chambers

      debuchy Bellerini / Jekinson(Bonus)

      Nacho Gibbs / Paulista (Cover)

      DM 2
      Coquelin New dm ( MOrgan Schiniderlin)

      Box to Box 2
      Rambo and Jack

      Ozil and cazorla

      Wingers 4
      Sanchez OX Theo Welbeck ( Wellington Silva)

      Giroud (lacazette) / Welbeck.

      Well that is 2 players per position. i don’t think we need to much next season. We need better tactics like the ones we are using now. And more luck on injuries.

      Out Goings.
      Arteta he is not getting any younger and you can’t have a captain and don’t play them.

      Flamini. Not good enough.

      Diaby. he is quality but 1 game in 2 years its just too much. I really don’t know what to say.

      Rosisky he deserves to play more gameand at 35 he may want to go to the US or Asia. This man deserves a testimonial from the club.

      Podolski. I am sorry for criticising wenger for not playing this guy. he is simply Atrocious at milan. Withing 3 weeks he wasn’t a wanted man. Bye bye

      Cambell. Good player but he will never play for Arsenal. At villareal he has a good thing going for him. let him have a career out of that.

      Sanogo. Another loan. But this guy can’t start for Palace. he need more games. he needs abouts 2 years on loan or sold.

      1. aren’t you forgetting someone? Gnabry! Are we showing him the door too? That would be a bad move if you ask me.

      2. At the minute I can’t see Jack making it.
        I would rather see Sissoko in our squad, faster, stronger, scores goals from distance, way better injury record.
        Jack would fetch an inflated price because of his nationality, cash in and move up.

  2. While I did notice this Cazorla is no DM. I think that’s more of a result of the team playing for each other than anything else. Moreover and I mean no disrespect to Burnley but they really lacked quality in the final 3rd, it was a lot of heart and commitment but that was it, they rarely if ever looked like scoring.

    Must say our pressing has improved

  3. This article comes two months too late. I have said that after the City game but people still think that Cazorla preferred position is #10. Let me break the news for you : there’s no such thing as pure #10 anymore. This #10 quality comes along with the tactics. You are a #10 when you have the ball and opportunity to pass to an eventual colleague or have a go at the goal yourself.
    Cazorla played just as good as Coquelin in this deep position against Fenerbahce if you all remember. And he did a memorable performance as a deep lying midfielder. If anything, I believe he likes it more like that for the simple fact that he does not have to bunch up in the space taken by Sanchez or Ozil. Eariler this year I have asked how will Wenger solve the issue of having all three Sanchez, Ozil and Cazorla together on the pitch and still looking in control. Here we have it, Wenger master this one as well : move Cazorla deeper. Why? Because he is having a massive speed and bursts like no one else (maybe Sanchez but I am not sure) on the counter.

    1. I agree with you that the position of pure number 10 is slowly going out of the game. its all about players adapting. I think ozil is a pure old fashion number 10 but he has also changed his game in the last months. look at Oscar james rodriguez or Isco or goatze or debuyrne or williams or firminho. They are all very hard working. they are more now like CM.

      Mourinho sold mata just because of this. Mata was like the Ozil of Old. Sublime with the ball. But terrible when the team don’t have the ball. Look at mata now. he working like a beast without the ball. In football you can’t have passengers on the pitch anymore.

      I criticized Ozil greatly but he has proved me wrong with his hard work. long may it continue. So its great to see Cazorla working hard.

      1. In all fairness, Ozil was out of form after he came back from the World Cup. But he proved to be a real world class and great character during time he spent in the physio room. He took all criticism on the chin and waited for his chance to prove all wrong.
        One thing we all must see is the rotation Wenger is putting in place. I have to admit that I am still surprised about Wenger rotating players when until now he rotates only if forced by injuries. Who said an old dog can’t learn new tricks? But then I am not very fair because he did used to rotate in the middle of the season before. It is just that I am surprised now that he does it after a long time after he used us with this.
        Ramsey put on the wing. We all know what that means. Wilshere coming in where do you think? Well, it starts with w and ends in ings. Probably on the right wing because Sanchez is the master of the left one. Ox after a short cameo in the middle will probably come back on the wing again. Why? Because this is how you learn to use short spaces. This is how you will build up again the match fitness.
        Now, who wants to bet that Walcott will play the FA Cup?

        1. @ Budd i really don’t think its beacsue ozil was out of form. The truth is Ozil is a classic numbver 10. their job is to create and they didn’t involve much defensively. Mourinho sold mata because of that. Load of people criticize ozil body language and his challenges and pressing.
          I believe ozil has sat down and analysed his game. he has taken all ths criticism on board and worked on his body strength. he is now tackling. he is pressing all the time and making opposition to loose balls or send the wrong passes. Now ozil is getting more complete.
          When you add that determination to skills you have a quality player on the pitch. now everyone can see ozil’s class. even critics like me are very happy. I said on this forum that I don’t hate ozil. i wanted him to work harder. he has been terrific for us.

          1. That’s what I am saying. He took the critics and upped his game. Body language or not he was not the player we see today. He must have been really tired and still euphoric (we know very well what kind of form Mertesacker had and look at him now).
            BTW, Ozil is doing pressing. And quite a lot. One thing he still must continue to do is body strength. Is much better now but it could be miles better.

            1. To me I don’t think he needs more body strength even before he put on that 5-7lbs I didn’t think he needed to “bulk up” I was more concerned with showing him how to use his body.

              Even before he beefed up a little he was no slouch he was probably like 5’10 155-160 he just looked afraid of contact to me and wasn’t willing to throw his weight around or put his body on the line

  4. Sanchez is not good on counter especially he is the one with ball. So many occasions he like to take on the ball when he just need a touch to free player on the run.

    Yes some time player need to be selfish a bit to shot on goal but if there are players around you with better chances why not try to assist.

    Some time I just hope sanchez and ozil both have each other unique quality than we are unstoppable.

    1. Trouble is that Sanchez is one of the most advanced player when he has to break. The only thing he can do is to actually take the ball forward. Sometimes he can manage, sometimes he’s stopped. But sometimes he passes the ball although not so often. He’s the one in love with that ball. Ozil the magician himself doesn’t want to be in the company of that ball for too long.

    2. hahahahahahah. True talk. But u Know sanchez can’t be like Ozil and vice versa. All i want to say a football team is like pot of soup. Loads of ingredients some spicy some bitter some sweet. but when you mix all together it becomes sweet.
      sanchez also said wenger has been getting to him about realising the ball earlier. It takes time for people to change their habits.

      Di natali said the first time he saw sanchez train at Udinese he was thinking he was a jugler and not a footballer. Its like this kids who can do everything with the ball. the ball could stay on their head for 15 minutes but you put them on the pitch and they can’t play.

      Sanchez is that type of kid that just loves the ball. The ball is like a friend. But with time things will change. But he is a terrific player. we are lucky to have him.

  5. Anurag, good morning and how are you? In the absent of playing in his preferred no.10 role, I have always thought of Cazorla as a good complement DM to Flamini now Coquelin. I think the boss should start re-deploying him there with occasional freedom for him to join the attack to attack as he did at Burnley. Ozil should be given that his preferred no.10 role by the boss in the remaining 8 Arsenal games for this season. It will be interesting to see how this Gunners formation will play out successful against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium next week Sunday. My advance BIG starts for that big game, subject to changes for any unforeseen reasons are: Ospina…BellerinRhino’KoscielnyMonreal…CoquelinCazorla…OzilRamseySanchez…Giroud. Are those the boss’ strongest starters? That our home game to Chelsea will become a bigger game to define the Gunners title contending credentials after the Red Devils might have spanked the Blues at Stanford Bridge I should imagine.

  6. Someone said 70% of the world is covered by water. The remaining 30% of the world is covered by the POLICE OFFICER. Mr Coquelin.

    He can’t pass the ball like Busquet Schiniderlin or Martinez but who cares about passing? isint that the reason why we have ozil cazorla jack and Rambo? He does his Job. protect the back four tackles and win the ball. Then makes an immediate pass. after passing he goes back into position. terrific lad.

    Coquelin needs no more induction. City couldn’t handle fellani but Coquelin had him in the pocket. He had Coutinho. He had Silva. Even next season he should still be our number one.

    He is also from our Academy. He is one of our own.

    1. The simple fact that the pass he is playing is almost always forward and close to the opponents box makes him good. At least in my opinion.

  7. Time to kick the Spaniard OUT.
    Get someone better like Fabregas, Xavi, Messi, Ribery, Reus, Goetze, Muller, Iniesta, Mata etc.

    Time to increase our quality not keep it the same.

    Do you think United, City and Chelsea won’t buy WC players this summer? Think again


  8. Seriously, what is going on with Theo Walcott? Is his Arsenal career seriously going to phase out like this.. Am I the only person that doesn’t want us to sell him?

    1. Wenger specifically talked about his confidence, there’s nothing with his body. He’s been out for a full year so it will take him a lot of time to get back to form and also gain confidence. Wenger himself said he got the injury at the right time because his body will still recover unlike Falcao.

  9. OT: Who is this Maxi Romero that we are rumored to have sealed a deal for? The kid has been likened to Messi in his dribbling skills and knack for scoring goals. Is he for real or just another over hyped youngster?

  10. There had been lot of noises on this Romero kid, hope he attains its pedigree.. On Walcott issue, heard sometimes back that he had a bust-up with Arsene in training which he vehemently denied but I hope he would still stay at Arsenal for longer time. The thought of swapping/replacing Walcott with Sterling should be scrapped, dont think the lad would be in Arsenal first eleven (another overhyped English player) but good on his day though.. IMO. God bless Arsenal, God bless we fans

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