Since joining Arsenal from La Liga side Malaga in the summer of 2012, Santi Cazorla has stood out as an exceptional performer and selfless team player. A natural number 10, the then 27-year old hit the ground running after his switch to the Barclays Premier League, providing 13 assists in a maiden season that saw him crowned Arsenal’s Player of the Year.
The two-time European champion with Spain was however forced to move deeper in midfield alongside French prodigy Francis Coquelin last season, due the club’s plethora of attacking midfielders. The two have since formed a formidable partnership in defensive midfield- a blend of both youth and experience- and seemingly a long-lasting replacement for skipper Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, more so after the departure of Abou Diaby.
Speaking in an interview on the Official Club website, the 30-year old revealed that switching to the new position has helped him find his best form, something that came about with a change in mindset.
“The boss changed my position last season to play me more centrally,” he told Arsenal Player.
“It’s a position I really like, though of course it means I’m further away from the opposing area so I have fewer chances to score. I’m finding my best form and I’m really enjoying the new position.
“You have different responsibilities. In terms of defence, you have to defend more and you have to help the team more in terms of making sure you’re well-positioned to ensure the players in attack can stay fresh.
Cazorla and Coquelin were among the nine notable absentees against Sheffield Wednesday as Arsene Wenger enforced changes to keep his first team fresh ahead of Saturday’s visit to the Liberty Stadium. This consequently lead to the Gunners missing out a place in the quarter finals of the League Cup, after losing 3-0 to the Owls.