0.57 goals/assists per game: What’s not to like about Cazorla?

Super Santi had a great first season for Arsenal!

Super Santi had a great first season for Arsenal!

Cazorla is good for Arsenal, and Arsenal are good for Cazorla!

He possesses everything you wish for in a footballer: bags of talent, stamina, enthusiasm, assists, goals, team player and football intelligence.

Arsene likes to build his teams around football conductors of the highest order, and he is still looking for the player who can take over from Fabregas. He tried Cazorla and Jack, and both had some good and some less impressive games in the ‘hole’ position.

After a phenomenal first season for the LLanara/Spain born maestro, all eyes will be on him next season: will he become the very fulcrum of the team?

Personally, I am not convinced Cazorla can play the game-controlling and orchestrating ‘Bergkamp/Fabregas role’ to full effect. Rather than driving the game forward from the centre of midfield, Santi appears to prefer playing close to the opposition’s box, where he is most dangerous in terms of producing assists and shooting at goal himself.

And what fine contributions he has made for us last season: 12 goals and 16 assists in 49 games – 0.57 goals/assists per game.

Without any doubt, Santi was our best footballer in 2012-2013, and my favourite performance by the Spaniard was the away game against Bayern: he was simply outstanding during that game!

But Arsenal have also been very good for Santi, and the main reasons for this seem to be Wenger’s great coaching skills and the freedom he is allowed by the Frenchman to ‘express himself’.

The stats tell their own story:

Santi’s career stats prior to joining Arsenal: 47 goals and 40 assists in 304 games – 0.29 goals/assists per game; so, he almost doubled his average goals/assists per game return (0.57) this season. He has also improved on his Malaga stats, where he played just one season: nine goals and five assists in 42 games – 0.33 goals/assists per game.

I reckon Santi performs best in a free role, in which he is allowed to move everywhere and the opposition never really knows where he will be next, or what he is going to do next. The ‘Bergkamp/Fabregas’ fulcrum role needs to give structure and impetus to  the team: it requires a player who directs play and who bosses the centre of midfield to a large extent, and for that a player needs vision, pace, dribbling skills and a great ability to produce through-balls, and of course, create many chances for others and score regularly himself.

We have seen glimpses of this by Cazorla, but I believe the conductor role does not suit him as much as his free role (on/from the left or right wing).

It remains to be seen what Wenger will do with regards to the conductor role: will he hope that Jack will finally have an injury free(ish) season, or will he move Cazorla back in the ‘nr10 position’?

Given the continuous links – however tenuous in some cases – with typical (4-2-1-3) AM/nr.10 players like Jovetic, Rooney and Fabregas – and many, but not me, will argue Fellaini is also this sort of player – we can say that Wenger might not be convinced his current players are (right now) suitable for this pivotal position.

Let’s get Higuain (could we get any closer??), sign up a DM beast, and then maybe put the icing on the cake with a top class AM/nr.10 conductor. Somebody who can hit the ground running and make a difference straightaway. And over time, the likes of Jack, Ox or Eisfeld can be readied to take over.

But regardless of where Santi is going to play next season, I for one, cannot wait to see  the Spanish magician in action again!

Written by: TotalArsenal.

This entry was posted in Attacking football and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

131 Responses to 0.57 goals/assists per game: What’s not to like about Cazorla?

  1. AFC says:

    TA, another top post. 🙂

    Santi is a top player and in my opinion the bargain of the last summer transfer window. Santi is not not a traditional no.10 but a false no.10 which is why he is not the conductor you want. I would play Santi on the LW, Walcott on the RW, Higuain up top and try and get a traditional no.10, Rooney is probably the best option if available.

    Does anyone know what is going on with Gomez of Bayern?

  2. OMGArsenal says:

    AFC…..Gomez is a true no.10 and a deadly scorer like Higuain but even more versatile than him as he can play across the front and in the hole. He was at Stuttgart when I was there and he was the Bundesliga top scorer. Stuttgart won the title that year and Bayern promptly bought him as Stuttgart needed the money.
    Now he has to hope that Guardiola likes him. If they offer him up for transfer I’d say that he would be worth every penny they asked….but if we have Higuain, he would be redundant.
    It is a mini-tragedy that Bayern can and do sequester such quality players and bench them, as do Real and City, out of fear that they’ll go to other competitors and hurt their current team.
    If we could get another Spaniard or German to play in midfield, of Cazorla’s quality, we would be a definite threat in all competitions as we’d have the skills and experience of these proven players and the depth of youth and substitutes to win almost all our games.

  3. AFC says:

    OMGArsenal, if we get Higuain and some sort of midfielder with ‘presence’ (maybe Fellaini) that ensures we finish 3rd or 4th. If we then add an experienced GK (maybe Cesar), a young CB who can fill in at RB around the age of 22-26 (not sure who) and a top no.10/AM/SS we become title contenders.

  4. AFC says:

    I am thinking get rid of: Fab, Mannone, Santos, Johan, Maroune. Squil and Arshavin have already been released. I think Denilson has already gone.

    Then have a 25 man squad of:

    Szez, Cesar, Sagna, Jenk, Verm, Mert, Kos, new young CB who can fill in at RB, Gibbs, Nacho, Ramsey, Diaby, Arteta, Wilshere, Rosicky, Santi, Coq, new midfielder with ‘presence’ (Fellaini), new no.10/AM/SS, Walcott, Gerv, Ox, Pod, Giroud, Higuain.

    Miquel, Serge etc. on loan to other EPL clubs.

  5. Dylan says:

    TA, great post. And I agree, we all love Santi! 😉
    AFC, that’s a good list of requirements. Allow me to suggest some players.
    Higuain: Higuain
    DM: Illarramendi (spelling?) or Lars Bender
    RB/CB around 22-26: Micah Richards
    GK: Cesar (even though I don’t rate him, he’s cheap and good)
    AM: Cesc! 😉

  6. AFC says:

    Dylan, Richards would be good but his is primarily a RB unless we convert him to a CB. Not sure how good he is as a CB and he is injury prone as well if I am correct. Your thoughts?

  7. Dylan says:

    I’ve heard he’s pretty good at CB. And I believe that because he is tall, strong, and quick. But I have not heard of an injury problem with him. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one though.

  8. AFC says:

    Dylan, he was out injured a lot last season. Kos and Per are set in stone so Richards would mostly partner Verm. Do you think they would compliment each other and be able to form a solid partnership?

  9. AFC says:

    Dylan, I would welcome Richards if it was for the right price and we could pay him suitable wages but I feel he will not join us.

  10. Dylan says:

    Well Richards is right footed. So he shou be able to play on Verm’s right side and compliment his left foot. As well as having decent distribution. I don’t think he’d be a bad option. And seeing as he’s 3rd choice we should be able to get him for a reasonable price. But Man City pay absurd wages so that may be an issue.

  11. AFC says:

    Dylan, the wages were a concern for me. Also would Richards not want to be a regular starter to try and get into the England team. He would definitely be Kos and Per and maybe Verm for CB. For RB he would be battling with fellow countryman Jenks as well as Sagna for the RB position. To me I just cannot understand why Roy hasn’t included him in any of his squads.

  12. AFC says:

    * I just cannot understand why Roy hasn’t included him in any of his squads.

  13. AFC says:

    * wages are a

  14. AFC says:

    Without all of the mistakes.

    Dylan, the wages are a concern for me too. Also would Richards not want to be a regular starter at any teams he chooses to sign for to try and get into the England team. He would definitely be behind Kos and Per and maybe Verm for CB. For RB he would be battling with fellow countryman Jenks as well as Sagna for the RB position. I just cannot understand why Roy hasn’t included him in any of his squads.

  15. Dylan says:

    I agree. However, I’d Sagna goes, he’s my first choice. But agreed with Sagna, Jenks, Verm, Kos, and Per all at the club he probably wouldn’t get the playing time he needs to get to the World Cup.

  16. AFC says:

    Dylan, if Sagna leaves then Richards is a good option. Caceres from Juventus is also a very good option as he can play anywhere in the backline.

  17. Dylan says:

    Never heard of him, but sounds good. 🙂

  18. AFC says:

    Richards probably will not feature for England in Brazil no matter who he signs for and how many matches he plays.

  19. Dylan says:

    Who is the England second choice right back? I know Walker is first choice, but Jenks has just switched nationalities and I can’t think of any other RBs playing for England. (Although I think Nathaniel Clyne is English, but I don’t recall him ever playing for England.)

  20. AFC says:

    Dylan, Glen Johnson is England’s 1st choice RB. Walker is England’s 2nd choice meanwhile Kelly, Jenks and Clyne are all behind. Richards is not even in contention for the RB spot. Roy Hodgson has his favourites and Johnson is one of them as he has managed Liverpool in the past. Johnson is poor defensively which is why Milner is often played in front of him to provide defensive cover which hinders our attacking ability. Roy Hodgson is the wrong man to manage England and continues to make mistakes which makes us worse than we already are.

  21. AFC says:

    Kelly is a young RB who plays for Liverpool.

  22. Dylan says:

    Ahhh. Yes I was aware of who Kelly was. And Johnson. I just completely forgot about them both. Thanks for that. Is Johnson really number one? Last time I saw England play I swear it was Walker. Although that may have just been rotation.

  23. AFC says:

    Dylan, it was most likely rotation. A bit weird how Gibbs did not get a called up for England.

  24. AFC says:

    * did not get called up for England.

  25. AFC says:

    Dylan, Johnson has been 1 st choice for years. I cannot even remember who was 1st choice before him. It must have been Gary Neville.

  26. Dylan says:

    Agreed. Although Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines I must (grudgingly) admit are better LBs currently. But both are getting up there age-wise. Who will Gibbs be competing with for an England spot in the future? Bertrand, Rose, and Shaw? Those are the only ones I can think of right now. Although it’s been a while since I watched England and especially a while since I really cared about their defense.

  27. jgc says:

    Hi

    TA, great post, a few comments and replys…

    a. AFC = it’s Presence! (dont forget the capital P and the !!! 🙂 )

    b. IMO, I think Higuain, seems a done deal now and reads a lot like Poldi did early last summer (i.e. done).

    c. Thus, I would say a beast DM and then a #10, which leads to my big question for all:

    Based on todays misinformation (oops, I mean “news”).. and … *Emotion aside* who would you rather have for #10 …. Cesc or Rooney.. Remember, emotion aside, no references to past performance at Arsenal tho you can refer to EPL experience.

    For me, it’s difficult. I think Cesc is more the controlling maestro. However, assuming his head’s on straight, Rooney has more mongrel which, we sort of lack.. I am ignoring wages and costs, I should note..

    Leading to a close of, Marcus, some great posts, and I especially like the idea about Jagielka (who also has some mongrel on top of his talent)..

    cheers — jgc

  28. jnyc says:

    TA, i cant deisagree with anything you said here. Thanks for the stats, i didnt realize how much stronger Santis stats were with us than previous teams. . I think he seems very happy with Wenger. I hope he would have a conversation with any spanish speaking transfer targets ( you know who ) his enthusiasm would surely be contagious.
    —-Also i agree with your transfer priorities. A finisher to make up for vP, a strong, real dm presence, and ideally a creative player. Anything else is just housekeeping, we have a strong nucleus of talent, starting and bench. With the right additions, we could challenge for sure. Now get Santi on the phone or on a flight to make sure we dont miss out on the scorer we have in our sights.

  29. Dylan says:

    JGC, I’d still prefer Cesc. He’s younger and already a better leader and conductor of play, in my opinion.

  30. AFC says:

    Dylan, this is the problem. Baines and Cole are both getting older. One if not both will not even be good enough for the WC and any future tournaments. Baines is good in the EPL but looks pretty average internationally meanwhile Cole is still solid but just looks like he is there for the sake of it. I have seen nothing outstanding from him either in recent matches. I would replace one of Cole or Baines with Gibbs and let him develop into our future LB. He needs the experience as he is currently our best young LB and is likely to be our 1st choice LB for many years to come when Cole and Baines are gone.

  31. AFC says:

    JGC, Rooney. Cesc is the better creator/playmaker but Rooney is the better finisher and more of a beast. Rooney is strong a has physical PRESENCE!!! 😀 which we currently do not have whereas Cesc has more of a mental PRESENCE!!

  32. AFC says:

    Rooney is the better SS whereas Cesc is the better AM. Both can ve conductors.

  33. Dylan says:

    AFC, I agree. Let our Gibbo play, Roy! 😉

  34. AFC says:

    * be

    Rooney behind Higuain would be brilliant. 🙂

  35. Dylan says:

    Also, on the Rooney/Cesc thing. Cazorla kind of already has the SS role down. We don’t need Rooney despite his physical Presence. We need an AM (like Cesc) even if they don’t have physical Presence AND a DM with Presence! 😉

  36. AFC says:

    Dylan, Santi Cazorla is a false no.10 😉 not a traditional no.10 which we need.

  37. jgc says:

    AFC and Dylan,

    Good points and I should note that I’d be happy with either of them, particuarly on song and playing well! It’s a total curiousity question, since, unlike Higuain, I suspect we wont see either (this year), though it would be nice..

    cheers — jgc

  38. henrychan says:

    TA.. nice post bro..
    I like your last post about Dutch players also..
    Yes I beginning to love Dutch team since that European Cup.. when Van Basten, Gullit, Ridjkard, Koeman, and others played.. 1988.. I still in Senior High School that day.. hehehe.. Sorry for not contributing to comment..

    Santi Cazorla.. Everybody love him.. even our rivals did.. hehehe..
    Yes his statistic was great.. but I don’t think we should rate an AM by his scores and also assist.. He scored and also assist so many goals just because Wenger placed him in the RW position often..
    I mean.. Willshere for example.. He did great job as our AM eventhough he didn’t scored or assist many.. and so did Rosicky.. hehehe..

    Yes.. Santi was great as a RW.. and maybe Wenger will put him on that position more.. but that’s could also mean.. Podolski and Gervinho and also Gnabry will warm the bench more.. sad to think about that.. hiks3x..
    But something may look good is that Eisfeld will get his time more cause Wilshere won’t play every games.. and Rosicky will only play if needed.. hehehehe..

    And I think Higuan will be the only ‘expensive stars’ (break the price record) that Wenger bring this season.. just as he bought Cazorla last season..
    I think Wenger will keep his baby player – Ramsey.. moreover Ramsey did proved some good progress.. and will be better this season.. hehehe..
    So we will see Wanyama instead of Fellaini.. or Strootman (still hoping.. hehehe..)..

    OMG.. My Bony will play for Newcastle..?? oh no..
    He will be another Demba Ba.. that’s we will regret not to bring in…

  39. marcus says:

    TA,
    Read in your bio that you are a dutch man. Do you speak any dutch?

  40. marcus says:

    I agree with you when you say that Santi is not the Fabregas type to orchestrate the game in its entirety. Rather, like you said, his is to play very near the opposition box and find small spaces in which to pass or shoot. It seems he is given a free role when played there.

    In my opinion he should continue to play there. If he is moved to the LW, not only will it affect his productivity as it has this season, it destroys our width as he always drifts inwards. We can afford to give him that free role for one simple reason, Jack. Jack is the conductor isn’t and weirdly enough, his best position is as a B2B. Jack loves to collect the ball from deep and surge forward, launching attacks very effectively. That is who he is and that’s how he expresses himself. When Jack is played in the hole,our game lacks his influence. Its like having a muzzled bull dog.

    The best midfield combo for me features the DM, Jack as the B2B and Santi in the hole.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Guys 🙂

    Fine comments overnight!

    After I wrote and published the post, bed was calling, so apologies for not taking part in last night’s discussions.

    JNYC – yes the stats are pretty telling, aren’t they. If Arsene can do the same, with the oooh soooo close of signing da ting, Higuain he will surpass Ronaldo at Arsenal 😉

    Nice idea to get Cazorla to call Higuain! 🙂

    Nice to see you back jgc – when are you back in Liege?

    Emotions aside – still Cesc as it would be the return of the conductor, and the thought of him workig with Santi, Jack, Theo, Pod, Ox, Gervinho, Giroud (and Fellaini, Higuain??) is so mouthwatering, I am at risk of total dehydration! 🙂

    Fellaini would add the beast-bit, so Cesc could just enjoy himself. But yeah, we are a long way away still from signing these calibre of players. As the Dutch say: first see and then believe!

    Marcus – yes, Dutch is my mother tongue. Why, do you need something translated? 😛

    Very good observation that a better, more all-round DM would get the best out of Jack (b2b) and Santi as advanced AM. For me, Jack will end up as a future nr.10, but not until he adds regular goals (and more assists) to his repertoire!

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry 🙂

    Good point about measuring AMs not too much on assists and goals.

    The stats were used to show how much Santi has contributed AND improved since he joined us. Santi played mostly from the LW and not RW, but I can see your point.

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    HH 🙂

    Are you very busy at the moment? Just send us a one-liner to confirm this, so we know you are okay! 😛

    OZ and PPP 🙂

    Same for you guys, give us a white flag from kangaroo land (Oz, surely your hols must be over by now?! 😕 )

    Same for UK based Gooners Richie, Allezkev and Gooner4eva49 (not sure I spelt that right, though). Come out and play, boys! 😀

  44. Gerry says:

    Morning all, Yes TA fine post on Santi. I agree on positional point too. Free role is what has made him great, don’t change it.

    Higuain done deal??? I think not. They are desperate to get Bale the rumour now is they offer Di Maria or Contrao plus £50m … Wouldn’t Spurs just love that!!!

  45. Gooner4eva49 says:

    I hear u TA! I’m out to play!! 😀

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Di Maria is better than Bale alone…. sounds like a lot….gossip, Gerry 😕

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gooner4eva49

    How is married life? 🙂

  48. jgc says:

    Hi TA

    I’d agree about Cesc as I like conductors more since they tend to make those around them better, and, IMO, we have the talent to surround him.

    Higuain, I think will be done. Seems too much in the press about it that it all seems to be building that way. Much like Poldi last year.

    Cheers — jgc

  49. jgc says:

    Oh

    And TA, I arrive in Liege on 16 July for 12 weeks.

    Cheers — jgc

  50. marcus says:

    TA,
    Dat betekent dat ik een aantal berichten in het Nederlands kan schrijven? Ik ben gewoon een grapje. Lees in je biografie dat je nederlands, maar in Groot-Brittannië hebben gewoond jaren. Dacht dat je misschien wel een beetje roestig op uw nederlandse.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Marcus 🙂

    I have learned that fellow bloggers don’t like it when another language is spoken which they do not understand, as they’ll quickly believe we’re talking about them hahaha 😉

    Dus we moeten maar gewoon in het engels communiceren! 🙂

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc – let’s hope it is done and dusted, and as per RA’s observations, it will probably not be announced officially until 1 July.

    So you are back in Liege soon, and for a long period this time. I have no plans to visit Holland as yet, but if I do, I will come and see you for coffee or a beer in Luik or Maastricht (did you visit the latter?).

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, do you speak Nederlands, because that is pretty good?

  54. marcus says:

    TA,
    Hahaha just making sure your dutch is still sharp..:)

  55. marcus says:

    Yes I speak Dutch among others.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Waar heb je Nederlands geleerd, Marcus, and can I be rude and ask what you do for a living?

  57. jgc says:

    TA

    Hi Liege = Luik, I have an amusing story there… For that beer if get to nearby.. Maastricht, 6 Euros by train, big history and fab architecture… I’m there when I can! 🙂

    I’ll likely hit Oxford at some point this year …

    Cheers — jgc

  58. marcus says:

    TA,
    I am a marketer by profession. I took dutch and Spanish as minors in high school. Then After school (before I joined Campus) I took crash courses in German and French. Finally, I took up the option of Italian in campus…

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    I know that Liege is Luik, jgc, but do you also know the German name?

    Oxford is quite far from Norwich, but maybe I can combine it with something….. Cambridge would be ideal though (1 hour drive).

  60. marcus says:

    Talen zijn een fascinatie van mij. Als ik tijd hoop ik om te beginnen met het leren van het Portugees en Chinees. Hoewel mijn schema laatste tijd zal me niet laten.

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow Marcus, very impressive – both profession and command of languages! 😛

    And I can see your profession reflected in some of your comments and posts.

  62. marcus says:

    Ik zou zo hopen. Anders zou ik niets heb geleerd op school. 🙂 Do you visit Holland often?

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    Umair 🙂

    Are you still reading the blog?

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus,

    I speak Dutch, English, German, French and GLICsh (an award winning Cornish dialect only spoken by one man and his mirror) 😀

    If I were to learn another language it would be Spanish: everything sounds like poetry. A cheese sandwich is: bocadillo de queso, for example! 🙂

  65. marcus says:

    Once you know french, spanish comes rather easily. Or vice versa. Now Glic is the only one that I’m still clueless about. Hahahahaha. I suspect learning Glic requires some sort of weird costume or robe. And probably is learny best when you have a few beers in you…hahahahhahaha

  66. marcus says:

    *learnt

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus 😆

    Never accept Glic’s offer to teach you!

    I visit about once a year.

    Out for a bit, catch you later.

  68. Kofi says:

    Hi TA,

    Great post! One thing I’d really like is to see Cazorla and the Ox play together more. Ox could start on the left and run in behind opposition defenses, sending in crosses and cut-backs while Cazorla could terrorize them from the middle (possibly receiving the aforementioned cut-backs 🙂 ).

    Also, if both of them had free roles they could switch regularly with Ox filling the hole whenever Cazorla drifts to the left. They’ve both shown they can shoot from outside the box and with Ox’s pace he could even break through the middle when they least expect it. Sounds to me like a very exciting prospect. Does anyone else see this pairing working well?

    Cheers

  69. AFC says:

    It seems Zenit have signed Arshavin on a two year deal meanwhile we could only loan Johan to Hamburg. They have the option to buy of course but I do not see why we couldn’t have sold him.

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Great post, Total, and it brings up a lot of interesting points. The stats are pretty impressive, but what they say to me, in the end, are that stats maybe aren’t so important. Everybody (well, a lot of people…) knew (italics) that Santi was a great player and just needed a spot to shine. That he could turn into a goal/assist machine so dramatically just goes to show that Arsenal is a great place for players to come and show their stuff.

    I completely agree that he can push on from last season. He’s got a great persona and an awareness as to what’s happening on the pitch. Even the two game changing plays he made last autumn that could be construed as “diving” (getting Adebayor sent off vs Totts and winning the pen vs WBA) showed that he could see what was going to happen before his opponent could. It’s a fine line, of course, but relative to some guys who play for the call, I think Santi is far less cynical… Give Santi better teammates who also can “see” the play developing and more good things will happen. Also, as in the Ade play, he’s got a great eye for dangerous situations and knows when to pull out. Staying fit is job #1 and tougher in England, esp. if you’re tiny….

    I also agree about Santi’s positioning or lack thereof. Observers get so caught up in starting positions and formations and while they are (italics, again…) helpful tools for communication, football, at its best, is a team game emphasizing fluidity and interchange. Players need to move and create and fill space for one another. I was worried about Santi when I first saw him playing for us, that he couldn’t play a full 90 minutes in this way, but he definitely got stronger as the
    season wore on. In fact, the other new signings, Poldoski and Giroud, came up a lot shorter in this regard, and their tendency towards static and/or unimaginative play (I thought) grew as the season wore on. Higuain, not known for his mobility, but also well versed in playing with top, top players, might be the guy who can match Santi in terms of taking the opportunities of the game as they come. (Now, of course, we have to finalize his signing…) Creativity and confidence, I believe, starts with players who possess these qualities in abundance, but can trickle down to others who maybe can’t “bring it” on their own….

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Santi’s stats actually drop in the coming season. I think he’s at his most dangerous when he comes deep. AFC keeps using the term “false 10,” which I’ve never heard before. I think he means an attacker who can come back for the ball, pull defenses out of shape in doing so and create chances from these deeper positions. That’s Santi at his best and his ability to throw those long balls up AND across the pitch are stunning. If players like Theo or Gerv (or even Giroud and Poldolski) can get their controlling touch correct, it’s an instant opportunity, even if it may not lead to an assist for Santi. He will get more of these passes off if he has other creative, skilled and free-thinking midfielders (who might actually stream forward for the goal-scoring touch…) but I fear that Arteta and Ramsey are not those guys. If Wilshere can stay fit, maybe… Diaby and Rosicky seem (even) less likely… This is where the Ox might contribute if he can improve his stamina and ball skills, but is probably the area of the pitch that (currently) needs improvement through a key purchase (or two)…

    I won’t be holding my breath, (or thinking that Cesc might return…) but I can still dream, can’t I?…

  71. James Bond says:

    nice one, TA

    yep, Santi is our little magician but saying that, the 2nd season in EPL is always the toughest as most teams have figured you out and the element of surprise no longer remains , however world class footballers always find a way and better their performances including stats season after season – if he manages to do that then i can see Arsenal being in a very strong position in most competitions if not all.

    AFC & Dylan,

    Richards is the best RB in the country when fit.

    he has had trouble with injuries which has led to the likes of other RB’s being ahead in the pecking order, however, if he is fully fit and is match fit then i fully expect him to be playing in every match for England.

    also, he’s a very good CB and has played there, but RB is his best position as he loves going forward and knows what he’s doing 😉

    i don’t expect Sagna to leave but if he were to leave, MR be a perfecto replacement (if Bayern Munich don’t snap him up ).

  72. henrychan says:

    Sorry TA..
    Did I wrote RW.. oh my.. I must have been drunk.. hehe..

    July seem a very long time.. hehe..

  73. James Bond says:

    i picked it up, Henry

    but soon you mentioned Poldi, i knew you meant LW hence i didn’t feel appropriate to correct you

    you make a valid point though but the beauty of having santi is that he can play anywhere as long as he is close to the box.

    besides if Ramsey can play RW then what does that tell you, hahaha

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Kofi

    Agreed that Santi and Ox should work more together, and Oxie on the left wing could really work (as we have seen when he plays for England). I think you’ll find Marcus being a big fan of this as well.

    Just imagine this line up next season:

    ———-Fellaini———-Jack—————–
    ——————–Santi————————–
    Theo———-Higuain————–AOC

    or

    —————–Wanyama———————
    ———Jack————-Santi—————–
    Theo———-Higuain————–AOC

  75. AFC says:

    17ht, I could try to explain the false no.10 role myself but wiki has a better definition of the role. 😀

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midfielder

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi 17

    Agreed Santi is not a cynical diver at all. He reads and anticpates the game around him well, and does so quicker than most other players.

    Not sure whether I agree with you about Santi being better when he comes from deep. He seems not to run with the ball a lot but prefers to pass his way forward, whereas Jack is great when running with the ball and get the game moving – one of the key attributes of a conductor.

    Agreed that there must be more of a role for Ox next season and Kofi just made some fine suggestions.

  77. AFC says:

    TA, what combo do you think is better?

    RW- Santi, LW- AOC

    or

    RW- AOC, LW- Santi

  78. James Bond says:

    the star are reporting a strong interest in Rooney, is it said that the daily star have close “connections” with arsenal, (which i interpretate as arsenal telling them garbage to create smoke) haha

    200,000k a week wages ? it’s not that we’ve never paid them before to a player you know #justsaying;)

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Hard to say, AFC

    Ox seems more effective from the left and Santi can play everywhere…. What do you think?

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Jambo 🙂

    Santi does not allow you to figure him out – he is full of magic with his sack filled with tricks 😛

  81. James Bond says:

    oh dear, glicomania and terrymania is contagious and running wild – TA 🙂

  82. AFC says:

    TA, Santi plays on the RW for Spain if I am correct. They have probably changed where he plays now because he is so versatile as you say and because of Navas too.

    The Ox is better on the RW if you purely want him to add width and pace but if you want the Ox to dribble past defenders, run at defences and express himself, freely the LW is the better position for him.

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Jambo – I believe in Santi 😉

    AFC – that is it in a nutshell- excellent! 🙂

  84. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi fellow BK’ers :),

    Been away for the past week, and about to get on a flight, but a lot happens when you’re away from the cyber verse!

    Mignolet to Liverpool, Celtic accept a bid of only £12 mil from SOTON, Henry’s belived Bony going to Swansea ;), Glic’s public concubine Isco heard to Real etc.

    Craziness!

  85. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry’s beloved*

  86. Highbury Harmony says:

    Headed to Real*

  87. AFC says:

    HH, good to see you back on BK. 🙂

  88. AFC says:

    HH, W from Celtic has not agreed terms with SOTON. Reports are saying he wants to move to a bigger club and he does not see SOTON as a variable option for him.

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH 🙂

    Will you send us a postcard from where you are going?

  90. James Bond says:

    or better yet, just send us Higuain , Fellaini, Cesc or Rooney

    no need for the postcard in that case , ha

  91. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA (and others) I don’t want to step on people’s ideas about all the traditional and/or personally defined positions…And, like I say, if they help people communicate here on the blogs, feel free….
    It’s just that I really don’t see AW thinking in this manner. The way I see him setting up the team is that the Keeper and the back line of 4 have somewhat defined roles–with the fullbacks running all the way to the opposite goal line and free to cut inside (witness Santos and how he played the position.) The front 6 however are completely free to interchange… My point is that, while being no defender himself, when Santi drifts back to help out, if we can get the ball, magic can happen…

    HH, just, like Higuain, just waiting on a plane… 😆 Give us the facts, please…

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    17

    The only two players with relative freedom last season were those two positioned on the wings: the rest played with definded roles, especially so towards the latter part of the season.

    I can see what you mean with Santi starting of an attack from the back when we just repossessed the ball. Good point, SIR! 🙂

  93. AFC says:

    Manchester United have made a bid for Baines but Everton have said Baines is not for sale.

  94. marcus says:

    TA has a very good point. Santi RARELY tries to run with the ball. In fact during counter attacks, he prefers to pass the ball, make the run into space then receive it when he is ready to score (like against Spuds) OR will make one of those delicious long passes to whoever is running into space. Even during the game he doesn’t run with the ball. If he has it for too long many times he stops to look for a pass (be it forward or backward). The exception to the rule is when he is in or around the opposition box. This is one of the main reasons why I feel he is best suited to the ”hole” role. He is most dangerous here.

  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    A well hit pass travels faster than Usain Bolt…so I like ’em…

    Santi just doesn’t have the acceleration to get past guys and he needs that little bit extra being so small… Near the box, when big English defenders can afford to go to ground, the problem can be seen. How many shots did he have blocked? How many of his goals slipped through defenders. I like that, as the season wore on, he seemed to shape to shoot as a decoy, looking for the pass. Unfortunately his teammates weren’t on the same page very often or were actually fooled by the fake.

    Get Gonzo in and working with Santi in SE Asia and a promising start to the season (for the first time in 3 years) seems likely…. Will Santi and Nacho be joining the team late given all their bench warming in Brazil? Probably 😦 …

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Guys,

    I have no post for tonight and will be out for a drink or two with a friend (A Spud! 🙄 )

    So, there will be no post, unless one of you puts something in my email box before 11pm 😉

    Marcus, I will get back to you later

  97. James Bond says:

    right, apparently higuain is stalling ( the hint should have been when Carlo said that in Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuain he has world class players)….and we have now turned out attention to lewandowski.

    hmmmmmmm

  98. 17highburyterrace says:

    Terry says it’s a done deal… No need to worry, 007…

    Shaken, not stirred…

  99. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody watching Spain-Italy….Spanish defense is woeful, but Italy cannot convert… Torres seems soooo much slower than 5 years ago…

    I missed yesterday’s match (and failed to record it)… Sounded like Cesar played well–plenty of tight calls, etc. it seemed… Nobody really seems to care much about the tournament and it’s maybe just a preview for (the protests) next year…

    Anybody?…

  100. James Bond says:

    let’s hope so,

    how have italy not scored least 2 goals is beyond me,

    time for santi and cesc i reckon,

    Torres is not bad , only had one decent chance whole game though (and should have scored had it been 5 years ago, he would have

  101. James Bond says:

    yesterday’s game was a cracker,

    cesar had a great game but that fella neymar fits perfecto in the barca team, he’s made of plastic, dives and cries like a cry baby , i hate them sort of players and barca for that, made of plastic.

  102. James Bond says:

    *with minimal contact or no contact at all

  103. Dylan says:

    This is the past few days for me:
    -wake up
    -check arsenal.com
    -cry a little when Higuain is not there
    -refresh the page
    -cry some more
    -refresh it one more time
    -curse Arsenal’s slow transfer business
    -do something for about 5 minutes
    -refresh again
    -die a little inside
    -go on Arsenal News Now to distract myself
    -read some articles about Higuain and then read about how Man City may be in for him and freak out a little
    -refresh arsenal.com
    -facepalm
    -repeat
    😉

  104. Dylan says:

    But don’t worry, there’s a reasonable explanation for why the deal is taking so long:
    http://m.talksport.co.uk/magazine/features/130627/higuain-move-arsenal-slowest-means-transport-possible-talksport-spoof-tr-200526

  105. 17highburyterrace says:

    Yeah, I felt oh so stupid for not recording the match–work is a big adjustment for me 😀

    On Neymar, we think the diving culture of Spain and Italy is bad but it is nothing compared to the South American Leagues… The match today is being played in a good spirit and Webb is good with the whistle in neutral parts of the pitch. Unfortunately, with Balotelli out I don’t know if playing for crosses and set pieces will be enough for Italy.

    Jesus of Navas in for his City mate Silva… All the good (Arsenal connected) Spaniards still sitting…

  106. 17highburyterrace says:

    Dylan, where (in the States) are you based? Hot weather today in the mountains of CA….

  107. 17highburyterrace says:

    Also, funny stuff up above… Face palming is a dangerous game and you end up looking like this if you watch too much Arsenal 😳

  108. Dylan says:

    NY. It’s incredibly hot here as well. And earlier today I mowed the lawn and worked out with my soccer team so I’m covered in sweat.

  109. 17highburyterrace says:

    What part of New York?… Don’t tell me you’re the guy with a lawn in Manhattan 😆

    No Santi today, I fear, but Cesc might be high enough en la linea de los Gallos (pecking order)…

  110. Dylan says:

    No not NYC 😉 Western NY 🙂

  111. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’ve got friends in Buffalo, who, supposedly, watch football…

    Shakira on the big screen, big cheer goes up…My boy wants a goal….(but Pique actually does something useful and makes a block…)

  112. Dylan says:

    Yeah I’m a little over an hour away from Buffalo. 🙂 Spain are not possessing the ball at all well. Not their usual selves.

  113. 17highburyterrace says:

    El Matador (Juan Mata) for Pedro, the Prince (Aquilani) for somebody… All these guys who play (or have played) in England but nobody any good (you know, because they play or have played for Arsenal…) Extra time (and PKs?) here we come…

    A friend of mine who recently got divorced and is a bit of a big cheese (administrator) at SUNY Buffalo says watching footy is a good way to meet guys in (downtown) Buffalo… But she also told me she got into a fight with a bartender for being an Arsenal supporter… What’s up with that?

    Spain (like Barca, like us…) need Cesc…This group isn’t getting it done….

  114. jgc says:

    TA

    Luttich, Lidj etc etc… Must be a great place for a little old steel town if everyone has a different name for it. 🙂

    TA and Marcus, I feel underclassed here with my modest French and Danish and my survival German, Spanish and Hungarian (barely survival)… However, I want to point out that when I speak to a true Scotsman I can understand over 80% of the words! 🙂

    Of course you are both marketing types and must therefore communicate well, but, my understanding of marketing was that sex sells in any language, especially Glicsh… ??

    cheers — jgc

  115. 17highburyterrace says:

    Extra time…

    jgc… so you were marketing cars in Michigan in the late 80s (or was it 90s)?…Were you in charge of the new Mustang?…

    Must (have) tang…. I guess that’s sexy…maybe, I guess….

    😳

  116. Dylan says:

    Don’t know what’s with that. I don’t go to bars much as I’m 15. 😉

  117. 17highburyterrace says:

    Soon enough, Dylan… 😀 Are you a “soccer” player yourself? I only recently learned where that term came from…

    Javi Martinez as Spain’s final sub… Guow (as they would say in Spanish, with Umlauts over the u…) Mata, wide from the top of the box… :shakes head:

    Is Del Bosque trying to lose this match just so he doesn’t have to play the Chelsea (and City) guys next Summer?

  118. Dylan says:

    I am indeed a player myself 😉 for my school and a travel team 😉 and yeah I don’t understand why Spain took off a striker for a defensive midfielder. Reminds me of Wenger taking off Giroud for Coq. Only difference is in this game, a draw doesn’t help.

  119. 17highburyterrace says:

    Xavi almost makes Gigi look foolish, but Javi (Martinez) strikes like a defender and Mata (and Jesus of Navas) aren’t up to snuff. It’s all good for those who are sitting…and maybe we’ll get Nacho and Santi back those few days sooner… 1 min to PKs…

    Wish I had played footy back when I might’ve…

  120. Dylan says:

    Yes playing can be quite fun. Although my team is awful so it’s not always fantastic. 😉 Jesus has made some decent 1 on 1 plays. But Mata looks awful and Xavi was oh so close.

  121. Dylan says:

    Spain wins as I expected. Great final on Sunday then.

  122. 17highburyterrace says:

    Spain go through (on lottery kicks)… Geezus, I guess, is who we must trust… 🙄

    Horrible line-up and subs from Del Bosque…but he gets away with it…Maybe we’ll see some Santi (or at least some Cesc) in the final…

    Thanks for the company Dylan…

  123. Dylan says:

    Anytime. 😉 I expect Santi and Cesc were rested and other main players for Spain subbed out early on the cocky assumption that they would win and have players rested for the final.

  124. jgc says:

    17HT

    Actually, I was an engineer there from ’86-’92… 🙂

    cheers – jgc

  125. James Bond says:

    some fantastic penalties taken tonight, that’s the way to do it (@ all the english boys) watch and learn

    except the one Italy miss, all were top notch !

    spain vs brazil

    i doubt if Spain would make the mistake of benching both cesc and santi for the next one, not sure why they gave mata and silva a go to begin with…

    Torres had a good game i reckon.

  126. James Bond says:

    looking at the brighter side, santi is well fresh and injury free, i hope he stays on the bench for the next one as well 😀

  127. Milo says:

    Even though they didn’t score against Italy, I think Spain have proven, once again, that if you have a dominant enough presence in midfield, you can have success fielding only one true defensive midfielder. Bayern Munich did as well, in my eyes, because Schweinsteiger isn’t a true defensive midfielder. Javi Martinez played that role for most of their season last year. What I am getting at is this…if we do get someone who can hold the midfield together defensively, then we have licence to create all sorts of combinations with our more attacking players. There are at least 4 or 5 different player combinations that I can think of off the top of my head, if we acquire such a player. If we do get someone, I don’t think it will matter who plays, or where they play, we will be a much better team. This for me is an even more pressing need than a striker, although Higuain would be a great acquisition!!!

    Santi can play just about anywhere, if we buy someone who can tighten up the midfield from a defensive perspective.

    Illaramendi, Wanyama, Capoue, or even a wildcard whom we haven’t seen play like Gilbert Imbula, could be the man for the job. I’ll bet anyone that we sign Imbula. The scenario is soooooooooo similar to that of the Sanogo transfer, it’s unreal!!! I wouldn’t be unhappy with this, provided he has enough potential to rival and surpass who we already have in Frimpong, Coquelin and possibly Aneke who could also occupy that position in the future. This is a total gut or instinctual feeling that I get surrounding Imbula. I could be completely wrong!!! 😀 It’s been known to happen before.

  128. Gerry says:

    Milo – I should not crab the Sanogo guy too much, he could be Giro’s missing link?

  129. Gerry says:

    In my rush yesterday, I missed the name off what would make Spurs fans happy – Higuain.

    I’m not sure they want to lose Bale unless he presses for it?

    If Hig doesn’t sign by Monday(Jul 1st) I guess it is back to Plan B?

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