Stats: How Arteta and Cazorla could prove vital for Arsenal this term

The Gunners duo have been the subject of scrutiny lately but statistics show their worth to Arsene Wenger's side.

Scrolling through a list of Arsenal's star-studded squad, only the most loyal of fans would notice the names of Mikel Arteta or Santi Cazorla above anyone else's.

And who could blame them when the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott are just a few of a wide range of Gunners stars to worship?

Indeed, why turn down the chance to have the name of a potential top scorer or a £40 million signing on the back of your shirt?

In Arteta and Cazorla, though, Wenger has two midfielders that could prove as vital as anyone this term. Their boss has identified as much, keeping them at the club when many were calling for them to be sold - and even naming Arteta his new captain.

Captain Arteta

  TeamPosAccurate PassesAppsMins
Yaya Touré Man City MF 2,255 35 2,927
Mikel Arteta Arsenal MF 1,982 31 2,407
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 1,908 34 2,900
Gareth Barry Man City MF 1,871 32 2,849

As Opta stats show, only Yaya Toure made more accurate passes in the Premier League than Arteta last term - having played four more games than him, no less.

Just shy of 2,000 accurate passes, the Spaniard provided a rhythmic presence in midfield for the Gunners throughout last season, despite critics suggesting a lot of them were sideways or backwards, with many expressing their frustration at Arteta's lack of forward thinking on the ball.

Whether the criticisms hold truth or not, the fact remains that Arteta is just the metronome Wenger needs in defensive midfield. Indeed, the 32-year-old may be a huge factor in his manager's decision not to sign another holding midfielder just yet, despite reported attempts.

While Arteta may not have several more years left in him, this season at least will see him play an important role at the Emirates Stadium.

Super Santi

And the same can be said of team-mate Cazorla, who recently reminded fans of his ability in the final third with a superbly taken goal against Manchester City in the final third. With the 29-year-old, though, there is no doubt about sideways passes.

  TeamPosSuccessful Final-Third PassesAppsMins
Santiago Cazorla Arsenal MF 785 31 2,597
Mesut Özil Arsenal MF 759 26 2,149
David Silva Man City MF 755 27 2,173
Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 740 35 2,895
Samir Nasri Man City MF 730 34 2,498

As Opta stats show, the Spaniard made more successful final-third passes than any other Premier League player last season.

A lot has been made of Ozil's presence in the final third and, had he played as many minutes as Cazorla, he may have edged him in terms of completed passes, while the same can also be said of David Silva.

Overall, however, Cazorla finished top of the pile, showing the kind of creativity and passing ability he offers Wenger's side in front of goal. And that's not something every player has at the ready.

Arsenal have been linked with a move for front men Eduardo Vargas and Edindon Cavani recently but, with Cazorla, they have a rather useful player out wide already - one that may prove a matchwinner for them this season.

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