Arsene Wenger says he’s pleased to have Santi Cazorla back to his best after an injury-hit start to the campaign took its toll on the Spaniard’s magical ambidextrous kicking powers.
The 29-year-old was the Gunners standout player in the 2-0 victory over Fulham topping off his energetic and impish performance with his first brace of the new campaign.
Now with four goals to his name, including three in the last three games, Wenger believes the Spanish international has finally unshackled himself from a lingering ankle problem.
“Santi got two and that is a sign he is coming back to his level because for a big part of the season he had some injury problems,” the boss told Arsenal Player.
“Since mid-December he has been coming back to his best. He was injured for a while, after that he had an ankle problem for a period and couldn’t hit the ball properly with his right foot.
“Santi is about using two legs, you don’t know really if he is right or left footed and once he cannot do that as freely as he is used to he has a handicap. He had that for a long time this season.”
The boss also took the time to talk about Mesut Ozil’s influence on games stressing that the German’s subtle style is more important than people give him credit for.
Having signed for £42.5 million in the summer there has been criticism from certain quarters that the 25-year-old hasn’t been winning games singlehandedly for Arsenal.
Accepting there’s more to come from his record-capture, the boss underlined that the midfielder’s style helps wear down opponents.
“Sometimes people expect him to make the difference alone,” he told Arsenal Player.
“Sometimes when it doesn’t work you expect him to take the ball and put it in the net. He is more a passer than a finisher.
“[Goalscoring] is one of the things he can add to his game for sure. It doesn’t need to be criticised, it needs to be encouraged.
“I think as well that the consistency of the quality of his passing slowly drains the opponent as he passes always the ball when you do not want him to do it. That slowly [allows] us to take over.
“He is 25, he can only get better. The best years are coming for him now.”