Hot on the heels of Arsenal losing the midfield enforcer Francis Coquelin to a long term injury, it was seen as a huge blow to then lose his partner in the centre of midfield. And with Santi Cazorla having gone under the knife and likely to be out even longer than his French team mate, the heart has been ropped out of the Arsenal first team.
So it was hardly surprising that many Arsenal fans and members of the football press think that the Gunners will not be able to cope. Only time will tell, of course, and any more injuries to Arsenal midfield players might stretch the squad too far, but the stats from our first game without both central midfielders showed that the team did a bang up job of coping.
Even though Cazorla has not scored for us this season, his passing and creative ability have been a huge influence so that is what we feared would be missing, but a Metro report reveals that the four top passers in the whole of the division at the weekend were from the Gunners.
Right at the top was the man whose job it is to cover for Cazorla, with Aaron Ramsey completing 112 passes. Then comes Coquelin’s cover Mathieu Flamini who made 102, followed by Mesut Ozil on 82. Fourth on the list was not a midfielder but the excellent Nacho Monreal.
These passing stats from Arsenal’s midfield trio are very encouraging for our EPL title hopes and they are even better when you consider that the team did not play anywhere near our top level. So can we cope without Cazorla and Coquelin?