Spanish international play-maker Santi Cazorla celebrated his birthday in style by arguably putting in his best performance in an Arsenal shirt during the 4-1 rout of Newcastle United this weekend.
The Gunners went in to the match with renewed confidence from their 4-1 win over Turkish giants Galatasaray and immediately put the visitors on the back foot.
After a well-taken Olivier Giroud header gave the hosts a 1-0 lead going in to the interval, the North Londoners went through the gears in the second half as they put Alan Pardew’s side to the sword.
Alexis Sanchez was his usual menacing self, Giroud lead the line brilliantly with two goals but it was the diminutive play-maker Cazorla who ultimately stole the show, putting in a wonderful all-round display.
|Goals||Shots||Key Passes||Dribbles Completed||Touches||Accurate Passes||Ball Recoveries||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the 30-year-old threatened the Magpies throughout the 90 minutes and contributed greatly to his team's victory.
Aside from his two goals, Cazorla took five shots on goal, created two chances for his teammates with key passes and completed two successful dribbles.
In possession, he was reliable and efficient – making a telling 53 accurate passes while also helping the team win the ball back on five occasions when the visitors attempted to build up some pressure.
It was a performance worthy of receiving the plaudits, and one that was splendidly topped off by an audacious Panenka penalty in the final minutes which sealed the 4-1 victory.
Up next for the Gunners is a daunting trip to Anfield to take on a Liverpool side who are going through the motions and will be keen to get their top four bid back on track.
Arsene Wenger has enough attacking talent at his disposal to change things up if needed, but after Saturday's display Cazorla will undoubtedly be among the first names on the team sheet.