While not quite as eye-catching as Jack Wilshere for England, Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla was key nonetheless as he helped Spain to a narrow 1-0 win over Belarus.
Spanish boss Vicente del Bosque has clearly been watching Cazorla for the Gunners this season and has taken note of his better performances as a deep-lying playmaker.
The former Malaga man has arguably had his finest campaign of his career alongside Francis Coquelin in North London, and on Sunday he was deployed in a similar role alongside Sergio Busquets.
The reigning European champions narrowly came out on top thanks to a David Silva first-half strike, but no other player was more involved throughout as Cazorla.
|Touches||Accurate Passes||Pass Success %||Key Passes||Interceptions||Clearances||Mins Played|
As per the table above, the 30-year-old was picked out by his teammates with regularity as La Roja struggled to break down the stubborn hosts who played as compact as possible.
In possession, Cazorla took a team-high 115 touches and completed a remarkable 110 passes – suggesting the majority of his play was quick, one-touch passing.
He completed 91.8% of his intended passes, created three chances for his patient teammates and tested the opposition goalkeeper on one occasion.
Such was the visitors’ dominance with the ball, there were very little passages of play which forced the Cazorla into defending though he did contribute with a moderate two interceptions and one clearance.
The Gunners favourite arguably only started the game in Andres Iniesta’s absence, but his performance nonetheless illustrated his ability to become a leading figure when handed the opportunity.