Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta has been singing the praises of teammate Santi Cazorla in the club’s official matchday programme.
The Spanish duo are important cogs in the Emirates Stadium machine, with both playing their part in a talented midfield department.
Cazorla has been pushed towards the top of that unit of late, with Arsene Wenger looking to make the most of his playmaking ability.
His performance in a 2-0 victory over reigning Premier League champions Manchester City suggests that he is well-suited to the role.
Arsenal have several options to consider in the ‘No. 10’ position, though, with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott also on their books.
Arteta believes those options will serve the Gunners well over the remainder of the season, but is delighted to see Cazorla shining at present.
He told the club’s official matchday programme ahead of a meeting with Aston Villa: “When Santi has played in the No 10 role recently he has been fantastic - particularly in the win against Manchester City.
“When he was moved centrally a few months ago, his form increased by 100 per cent. He likes to get involved in the game, he has a good range of passing and he creates opportunities - and his work rate is very important as well.
“We saw that at the Etihad, where he was chasing back, winning the ball and retaining possession under pressure in tight areas. That is very important in big games.”
|Match||Goals||Total Att Assist||Total Scoring Att||Total Tackle||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Santiago Cazorla||Man City vs Arsenal||1||2||1||2||59||54||1||90|
Is Cazorla the best option in the No. 10 post?
Cazorla’s work rate sets him apart from those in direct competition for an important role.
Sanchez and Walcott have shown over the years that they are at their best when operating in wider berths, allowing them to drift inside and run the channels.
Ozil would be the natural alternative to Cazorla, and he has struggled at times with the physicality of the Premier League.
A stocky performer with a low centre of gravity, Cazorla is not as easy to knock off the ball and is more likely to put his foot in when called upon to mix guile with graft.
Given that he is the man in form, and that he was rested for last weekend’s FA Cup clash with Brighton & Hove Albion, it would be a surprise to see Arsene Wenger shuffle his pack against Villa.