Arsenal midfielder up against Tottenham rival for fans award

Arsenal's Spanish international Santi Cazorla is one of six Premier League stars up for nomination.

It has been a productive January for the Spaniard, as he has helped Arsenal maintain its lead at the top of the Premier League and dump North London rivals Tottenham out of the FA Cup. This has been recognised as Cazorla been nominated for the PFA Fan's Player of the Month award.

Cazorla will be up against Spurs frontman and ex-Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor, along with Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Liverpool goal machine Luis Suarez.

Arsenal’s number 19 played a key part in 2014’s opening game against Cardiff City. The Gunners left it late to beat the Welsh side, with Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott scoring the goals with just five minutes of the game remaining.

Next up for Cazorla was Tottenham Hotspur in a North London derby game in the FA Cup Third Round. The Spaniard had a cracking game, opening the scoring on the half hour mark as he collected a Serge Gnabry pass to fire first-time high past Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Arsenal went on to score another, progressing to the next round with a 2-0 victory.

The Gunners then had a tricky away game at Aston Villa, with two first half goals from Jack Wilshire and Olivier Giroud enough to pick up the three points despite a tense finish after Benteke pulled one back for the hosts – a goal which Cazorla could have helped avoid.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s faith in the former Villarreal man paid off, however, as Cazorla enjoyed arguably his best game in an Arsenal shirt since joining from Malaga. Taking 113 touches, making 86 passes with a 93% pass rate, Cazorla was excellent in possession. Going forward, he was unstoppable as he made five key passes, took five shots and netted both goals as Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners.

Cazorla's performances have certainly impressed his manager, as Wenger told Arsenal’s official website: 'He was out for a long time at the start of the season and had some injury problems. After that he had an ankle problem and only recently, since mid-December, has he come back to his level.

'When you play in your opponents’ half, in the final third, he is one of the players who can create something special, either through his passing or through his finishing. He is two-footed, and that makes him very dangerous'.

Has Santi Cazorla done enough to win the PFA Fan’s Player of the Month award ?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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