Santi Cazorla was back to his dazzling best as Arsenal moved above West Ham in the Premier League table with a 2-1 victory at Upton Park.
The home side appeared to be in control of the game's early stages, but two goals for the Gunners in the last four minutes of the first half, courtesy of Cazorla and Danny Welbeck put the visitors in the driver's seat.
The Hammers halved the deficit early in the second half as Cheikhou Kouyate headed in his first goal for the club, but despite piling on the pressure they were unable to grab a late equaliser.
Playing behind Alexis Sanchez (centre-forward), in a central attacking-midfield role, Cazorla made a significant contribution in the final third. He made some excellent passes while spearheading the majority of the club's attacking advances.
|Team||Goals||Shots||Shot Accuracy (%)||Key Passes||Pass Accuracy (%)||Dribbles||Tackles||Interceptions|
Here he attempted a team-best 41 passes - 83% of which were accurate - as well as fashioning eight goal-scoring chances for his side - more than any other Premier League player this gameweek. He proved the difference in a creative capacity, and at this rate, Mesut Ozil will be hard pushed to reclaim his No. 10 role when he returns from injury.
|Team||Match||Total Att Assist|
|Santiago Cazorla||Arsenal||West Ham vs Arsenal||8|
|Joey Barton||QPR||QPR vs C. Palace||5|
|Ahmed Elmohamady||Hull City||Hull City vs Leicester||5|
|Jesús Navas||Man City||Man City vs Burnley||5|
|Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain||Arsenal||West Ham vs Arsenal||5|
Cazorla will claim full responsibility for the club's opener. After dancing into the area, he was felled by Gunners target Winston Reid. He dispatched the subsequent penalty with supreme confidence, scoring his fourth in five games - an exceptional record for such a tiring period.
A player who is hardly renowned for his work-rate, Cazorla covered a considerable amount of ground in the centre of midfield when he has previously been criticised for his brittleness. He won one tackle, while making two interceptions and one clearance, as he offered added protection throughout the considerable phases of West Ham pressure.
The 2012 summer signing was awarded the club's Player of the Month accolade for December, and he looks set to carry his positive form into the new year. Alexis Sanchez will undoubtedly be relieved to finally have a teammate playing at his wavelength.