Five key passes, two goals: Arsenal midfielder's best performance?

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla had arguably his best match in an Arsenal shirt since making his €19M move from La Liga side Malaga

Santi Cazorla, 29, helped Arsenal out of a tricky situation with a fine double within five second half minutes to cement Arsenal´s place at the top of the Premier League

The Spanish midfielder has had a decent season for Arsenal, starting 15 Premier League games and providing a constant threat from a wide area. Yet, if there was one criticism about the Spaniard´s game this season, it was his lack of goals in relation to the amount of shots he has taken.

Before today, Cazorla had taken 38 shots for the Gunners in the Premier League, although he had only managed to find the net once. Whilst some should be grateful for having a player willing to test the goalkeeper at any given opportunity, the 29-year-old’s lack of goals could suggest that some of Arsenal´s attacking opportunities might have been slightly wasted.

However, Cazorla’s rather blunt finishing certainly doesn’t get to him and it was the Spaniard who fired Arsenal to victory against fellow London side Fulham.

Arsenal´s number 19 was instrumental throughout, a display which thoroughly warranted being voted man of the match. All of Arsenal’s attacking intentions went through Cazorla, as he took 112 touches, making five key passes and firing off a further five shots.

Once Santi Cazorla had helped himself to both of Arsenal’s goals, the midfielder showed intelligence and nous to keep the ball out of Fulham’s reach, starving the away side of any meaningful possession. In total, of the Gunner’s midfield, Cazorla made 86 passes, completing 93% of them – a figure only bettered by the more defensive minded Mathieu Flamini.

The overall display was unquestionably noted by manager Arsene Wenger as the Frenchman was full of approval in his post-match interview

"We were one paced in the first half and then Cazorla delivered two excellent goals and everyone is happy. In the second period it appeared to be a matter of time".

"Santi has missed a large part of the season but he is free from pain in his ankle now and we are seeing what a great player he is".

In another interview, Wenger also praised Cazorla and the team’s mentality to kick on in the second half, adding:

"The players were conscious we had to step up a gear. It was just a question of time and Santi Cazorla delivered two special goals"

"He was like the team - good in the first half and excellent in the second."

Was that Santi Cazorla’s best performance in an Arsenal shirt?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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