When Manchester City lured Samir Nasri away from Arsenal, a number of supporters in North London had some tasty words to say about the Frenchman.
Despite the obvious benefits of more wealth, what arguably hurt the Gunners faithful more was the realisation of another top quality player leaving and later achieving more success elsewhere.
Nasri was an excellent player under Arsene Wenger, and replacing his natural guile and brilliance on the ball was always going to be uphill task.
However, fast forward three years and the now-Manchester City ace is nothing more than a begrudged ex-player as Spanish international Santi Cazorla has more than supplemented the Frenchman’s loss.
|Goals per Game||Shots per Game||Key Passes per Game||Take-ons per Game||Touches per Game||Pass Success %||Dispossessed per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the former Malaga ace has experienced one of the best seasons of his career to date, outclassing Nasri in as many as six key categories.
Aside from finding the net more regularly than the City playmaker, Cazorla is seemingly the busier figure in the final third – taking more shots and completing more dribbles.
Moreover, he is undoubtedly the harder worker of the two and his willingness to track back and help out defensively is admirable, illustrated by his average 6.44 ball recoveries per match.
If there is one area Nasri is more potent it’s his ability to unlock defences and create chances via key passes, as well as his ball retention as he averages an impressive 90.1% pass completion rate.
However, the 27-year-old’s evident ball ability can often be let down by his lapse in concentration as per the number of times he is dispossessed on average per Premier League encounter.
On this season’s basis, Cazorla has performed the better and there is little doubt of his importance in the Gunners’ quest for a top four spot and a successive FA Cup success.
Yet, as per the rumours by Cadena Cope linking him with Atletico Madrid, Gunners fan will be hoping he doesn’t follow in Nasri’s footsteps in leaving them while arguably on the cusp of something exceptional.