Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has singled out playmaker Santi Cazorla for praise and congratulated him for being the club’s most used player of 2014.
The Spanish international joined the Gunners from La Liga outfit Malaga in the summer of 2012 for a reported €19 million and immediately became a hit with the Emirates support.
Over the past 18 months, Wenger has bolstered his attacking options with a number of acquisitions such Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck yet Cazorla has remained a permanent fixture in the line-up.
The former Villarreal star has featured in 15 Premier League matches this season – the most alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanchez – scoring three goals and adding a further two assists.
His performances have been worthy of consistently being named in the starting line-up, and Wenger acknowledged his impact when addressing the media ahead of Sunday’s clash with Liverpool.
“He’s a player with a good technique,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “The better your technique is, the more natural it is to play and the less effort you need to put in to control the ball and pass left or right.
“With Santi, you don’t know if he’s left or right-footed and his passion for football helps him to recover as well. He has a good stamina so he can produce the effort.
“Overall, he is the player who has played more games than anybody else for Arsenal in 2014. As we arrive at the end of the year, I want to congratulate him for that.”
Cazorla completed his 30th birthday last Saturday in style, finding the net twice in an emphatic 4-1 victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates stadium.
Since joining the club he has made a total of 119 appearances in all competitions, scoring 23 goals and playing a key role in last season’s FA Cup triumph.