Who will lose their place when Cazorla returns for Arsenal?

Arsenal maestro Santi Cazorla has not featured for the Gunners since their 1-0 victory in the North London derby over Tottenham almost a month ago.

The pint-sized Spaniard picked up an ankle injury against Spurs that has seen him miss the Gunners’ wins over Sunderland last weekend and Marseille in midweek in their opening Champions League group stage fixture.

The 28-year-old was Arsenal’s best performer last term in his debut season in England – his pass completion rate was 87% overall last term, second only to compatriot Mikel Arteta and his work-rate, quality and tenacity in the final third was a crucial factor in Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League.

Cazorla scored 12 goals and made 14 assists for Arsene Wenger’s side last term and his ball retention and incisive passing in forward areas is far too valuable to the team’s overall performance that it’s hard to see him being left out.

Who will lose their place when Cazorla returns for Arsenal?

Meanwhile, Arsenal signed £42.5 million Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid (in case you hadn’t heard) and it’s unlikely Wenger will disrupt the German playmaker’s integration into the team so soon into his career, especially given that the trust and faith of the French boss was such a pivotal factor in his arrival at the Emirates.

Elsewhere in the team, Aaron Ramsey has been the North Londoners’ best player by a country mile – the Welshman is the man of the moment, he’s Mr Form and riding high on life, scoring 6 goals in 7 appearances already this season.

Then there’s the imminent return of Mikel Arteta who will likely be alternated in and out the team with Mathieu Flamini who has also looked like an astute and solid signing for Wenger.

Cazorla has been deployed wide in recent times and with long-term injuries to Lukas Podolski (hamstring) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) it seems most likely he’ll be positioned on the flank when he returns.

You can’t take Theo Walcott away from the opposite flank due to his pace and his confidence since scoring on Wednesday night will likely be improved. Where do you put Cazorla if you definitely have to play Ramsey, Ozil and either Arteta or Flamini?

The only option is to take out Jack Wilshere who, despite his obvious talents, hasn’t been performing anywhere near his own impeccably high standards so far this term, for either club or country. The 21-year-old England youngster has yet to rediscover his fitness or form and, if all the aforementioned options are fit and available for selection, you’d have to think it’s likely he’ll be ousted from Wenger’s starting line-up.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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