The Premier League is currently blessed with Spanish midfield maestros, with Juan Mata, David Silva, Santi Cazorla and Michu all starring for their respective clubs last season. Looking around Europe there are plenty more brilliant Spanish midfielders, with Xavi and Iniesta frequently cited as amongst the best five players in world.
All are excellent players, but on the recently released BSport power list, a statistical ranking of the 50 best players in Europe, Cazorla finished well ahead of his compatriots, something which might be considered a surprise to many fans in the Premier League.
Cazorla placed tenth on the list, with Gareth Bale (ninth) and Robin Van Persie (sixth) the only Premier League players ahead of him. Mata and Xavi came 24th and 25th respectively, while Iniesta and Silva did not make the list at all.
It was not just eminent Spaniards that Cazorla outranked, with highly rated midfielders like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Yaya Toure all below him, along with superstars like Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani.
Cazorla has had a fine season, but few Premier League fans would claim he is one of the best ten players in Europe, and he did not make it into the PFA Team of the Year let alone the Player of the Year short list, so the question is, is he underrated in England?
The Arsenal player has contributed 12 goals and 11 assists in his debut season in the Premier League, he also created 96 chances for his team mates, and might have racked up a few more assists if not for the sometimes wasteful finishing of Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.
Cazorla also completed more passes in the final third than anyone in Europe last season, demonstrating his ability to keep possession under pressure. The Spaniard also does more defensive work than many others who play in his position.
There is no doubt that Arsenal have an excellent player on their books, and Cazorla will likely get even better next year, but is Cazorla really better than the likes of Juan Mata and Andres Iniesta, or does his style of play help him when statistical rankings are produced?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald
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