Arsenal's £16.5m maestro - The difference between title success and disappointment?

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla may not have won January's Player of the Month award, but his contribution to the Gunners' campaign was still vital.

Few who saw Adam Johnson play in January would disagree with his Player of the Month award.  The Sunderland winger netted five times, including a hat-trick against Fulham, an equaliser against Southampton and the winner against Stoke City.

In short, the man now tipped for a place at Brazil 2014 has been instrumental in the Black Cats' resurgence.

One of the men up against Johnson for January's award was Arsenal's Santi Cazorla, and while the diminutive Spaniard may be disappointed to miss out, he should hold his head high after an outstanding period for the Gunners.

With Arsene Wenger suffering both an injury crisis and a less-than-fruitful transfer window, Cazorla did his best to keep his side top of the pile - his three goals vital in sealing a victory over Fulham and a draw with the Saints.

It is something of a coincidence that both Cazorla and Johnson shone against the same opposition, and while the latter took the honour of the league's best performer, the former can simply look back on a job very well done.

As you can see from the statistics below Cazorla - a £16.5million signing from Malaga in the summer of 2012 - outshone all his fellow midfielders, not only scoring himself, but carving out chances for his teammates.

While he was not directly responsible for a goal by another Arsenal player in January, he played eight key passes to set up goal-scoring opportunities - a stat bettered only by Jack Wilshere.

Cazorla also made more accurate passes than any other Arsenal midfielder.

So while Johnson deservedly took this particular prize, it could be Cazorla's contribution that sees Wenger's men lift the Premier League trophy come May. And you can rest assured that comes much higher in the Spaniard's list of priorities than individual accolades.

PlayerGoalsGoal AssistKey PassesAccurate PassAccurate Through BallAppsMins
Santiago Cazorla 3 0 8 258 2 4 356
Theo Walcott 1 0 6 33 0 1 90
Jack Wilshere 1 3 10 216 2 3 270
Mikel Arteta 0 0 3 138 2 2 180
Mathieu Flamini 0 0 2 222 0 4 325
Serge Gnabry 0 0 1 88 0 3 210
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 0 0 0 16 0 3 28
Tomas Rosicky 0 0 1 29 0 2 42
Mesut Özil 0 1 7 211 1 3 266



image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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