There are going to be plenty of views and opinions on the best players, best signings and generally the best impacts made on the Premier League this season, as the campaign draws to a halt over the next couple of months.
Santi Cazorla of Arsenal is arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League this year for a number of reasons, after arriving from Malaga, used to a completely different style and tempo of football in Spain.
He has not only aided the development of Arsenal, and Jack Wilshere in particular, he has held the middle of Arsenal’s team together at times and is the most creative and driving force behind the team in the majority of matches.
What he’s done with Arsenal so well this season is control the tempo of their play, from the very back of the team, all the way through the middle and up to the strikers, who finish the moves and get on the end of chances.
Cazorla has a record of 12 goals and seven assists this season, with just under 100 shots. This puts him right up there with any other midfielder in the Premier League this season.
What makes his numbers all the more remarkable is that when he first came into the Arsenal team, there were questions over how he would cope because of his size and the way he needs a little extra protection from his teammates.
Fortunately for the club, that hasn’t been an issue and Arsenal have been able to protect him in the same way that Manchester City protect David Silva, all be it without the presence of a midfield enforcer like Yaya Toure.
The problem for Cazorla next season is going to be that teams know all about him and they will work on different methods, approaches and tactics which are designed at purely strangling his effect over any game.
If he can reinvent himself on a continuous basis then not only is his place in the Arsenal tam secure, he will always find it a bit easier to play against teams looking to rough him up or generally just stop him.
Arsenal do need to make a midfield signing this summer, but it’s not to bring in the sort of creative player who can pull the strings in the middle and create chances out of nothing in various situations.
Arsene Wenger has once again pulled off a genius transfer move for not a major amount of cash, for a player that can develop the team and help in parallel with the development of the younger players in the team.
He’s also a very popular and likeable character with the supporters and his teammates, which means it’ll be all the more easier for him to maintain his status and profile at the club over next season and beyond.
There haven’t been very many midfield man grabbing the headlines this season but Cazorla is definitely one of them.
Gunners, is he your player of the season?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald