Santi Cazorla's showing, not missing Alexis, reason for Arsenal loss

Santi Cazorla’s influence was not felt at White Hart Lane, which robbed the Gunners of any guile in the final third.

Arsenal slumped to a 2-1 defeat to North London rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane yesterday, which sees the Gunners overtaken by their conquerors on the Premier League table.

Arsene Wenger’s men felt the absence of key man Alexis Sanchez, with the visitors certainly not as abrasive an attacking force without the Chilean forward.

However, another key reason for Arsenal’s defeat must be Santi Cazorla’s limited influence on proceedings.

Against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last month, the usually expansive Arsenal sat deep and struck with pace and intent on the counter attack, winning 2-0 against the champions.

Cazorla was the standout player in that victory and a well-deserved man-of-the-match, with the Spaniard releasing other Gunners attackers with his vision and control over the ball when Arsenal had possession.

However, yesterday against Spurs Cazorla found little space in which to operate and with the former Malaga star shackled Arsenal lacked creativity in the final third.

With Wenger’s decision to play three central midfielders and sacrificing a number ten, it was up to the Spaniard to provide the inspiration in attacking areas as the side’s most creative player.

This did not happen and the French coach did not have a plan B.

Even had Alexis started the game in place of Danny Welbeck on the wing, the lack of quality supply from the centre of the park would have been damaging to Arsenal’s chances.

With Cazorla having a quiet game, Wenger needed to change things if Arsenal were to claim all three points.

He could well have brought Mesut Ozil into a more central area to play more of a significant role and needed to use his substitutes better.

This lack of planning and putting the emphasis solely on Cazorla to create will have Gunners fans scratching their heads today.

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