Wenger hails his ‘technically perfect’ Spaniard

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Arsene Wenger believes Santi Cazorla is playing the best football of his career after a stunning couple of months that has seen him score five times from the centre of midfield.

The 30-year-old Spain international has been hailed in all quarters (Neil ‘7 out of 10’ Ashton aside) for his man of the match showing against Manchester City at the weekend and his manager believes his new position is bringing the best out of him.

“He is a very talented football player,” Wenger told his pre-Brighton press conference. “Since he has played centrally he has taken [his game to] another dimension, because on the flank he was a bit more exposed to things where he was not at his best.

“In the middle of the park, he gets you out of situations where you are under pressure. He is always technically perfect and in our recent games he has certainly been in the best form of his career.”

“Santi is happy to play, every day he is happy to be with the ball and to go out there. He is the perfect example for every young player to follow.”

It remains to be seen whether Santi is called upon for this weekend’s trip to the south coast – there’s a good chance Mesut Ozil will start his first game since October – but if he is given game time he says he’ll relish the opportunity.

Reflecting on last year’s Wembley triumph, the Spaniard said of England’s premiere knockout competition:

“It’s a big, big trophy for all the teams here, and in Spain the Copa del Rey is the same. I have very good memories [of last season’s final] and it was a very good moment for me and for the team. It was my first trophy with the club and I want to get another one this year.

“I think [the free-kick against Hull] was very important because we were losing 2-0 and I could help the team. At half-time it’s different when you get a goal back.”

“I don’t think [there is more pressure this year],” he continued. “We want to win this competition again and this is a very good opportunity for us. We need to play against Brighton away and we can repeat this year with another trophy for the fans and the club.”

In a separate interview on Arsenal.com Santi goes into further detail about the build-up to the epic free-kick that helped spur the Gunners’ comeback against Hull City. It’s a real insight into the detail his manager bestows on his players before kick-off:

“Of course I can still remember the free- kick. Before the match, the boss had told us that their goalkeeper always took a step towards the wall when facing free-kicks, so we’d have a good chance of scoring on the other side. So when I got the free-kick, I saw that side was open and figured I’d trust in the boss! Luckily, their goalkeeper did take a step to the side, so when he reacted he didn’t have time to save it.”

How good is that?

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67 Comments on "Wenger hails his ‘technically perfect’ Spaniard"

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Roitenak

Fucking excellent.

CB

He’s fat, he’s round, his feet don’t touch the ground….

Santi is a magician, can anyone else in the PL do the stuff he can with his size 6s at the speed he can?

ARiddlingName

Santi isn’t fat.. He’s healthy 😛

ShotGunner

Big boned

CB

Obviously people are too young to have heard that chant and the variations:
eg He’s fat he’s round, he’s worth a million pound…he scores at every ground…

Or too politically correct.

So .. he’s healthy, he’s wealthy, he…

CB

The BFG loves his nickname despite the negative connotations, I am sure that Santi would appreciate the chant as well.

Runkeball

He’s big bones in a short sort of way. Imagine an athletic Tyrion Lannister but Spanish, good at football, signed by Arsenal, a bit taller and not in Game of Thrones.

chanraraj

He is. How long has he been with Arsenal? Arsene just realised he is excellent in the middle of the park?

David

Trust in the Boss!!! Time for more Arsenal fans to get back onboard!

gooooooooooner

Wenger Wenger Wenger

Edu's Braces

‘Wenger doesn’t analyse the opposition’

Fuck you everyone who ever said that.

Trez

So you’re saying fuck king henry then??
I remember him saying in his book that arsenal didn’t watch tapes of barca prior to the 06 final.

Jagger

That doesn’t mean (even if it is true) that Wenger doesn’t analyse the opposition. His player may not have, maybe even for a special match such as the Champions League final, but Wenger certainly did.

Loke

Every pro club got their own analysts. I played in lower leagues myself and even they have some basic analysing going on that they use to prep the team. But in the big clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Barca, Bayern and so on, nothing is left to chance, and every detail of the opposition is analysed into the smallest detail. Defenders need to know which foot to push the attacker on to, and which spaces the different attackers like to move into. Penalty takers will know which way the opposition goalkeeper usually goes. Or like in our final vs Hull where Santi knew their keeper allways took a step towards the wall because of analysis, or like when United faced Bayern Munich, they knew Neuer likes to go low in one vs one’s to provoke a chip and then he jumps. Ferguson told the team this but when Welbeck used his pace and came one on one with Neuer he took the bait and tried the chip which failed miserably when he should have listened to Fergie and fired low underneath Neuer like he had been told to, then he would likely have scored. Welbeck got an earfull from Fergie for that mistake.

I dont think anyone with even just basic knowledge of football think Arsenal dont analyze their opponents. Ofcourse they do. it is more a frustration with not setting up the team to best counter the oppositions strenghts and weaknesses. Anyone who have watched Arsenal under Wenger know his terrible track record vs top teams and his desire to entertain and play his philosophy regardless of the opponent. So the way he set up his team and executed the tactics against City last game was very uncharacteristic of Wenger.

It was allmost classic Mourinho. Where as Wenger had not won a single game vs top 4 opposition away since 2010 prior to the City game, Mourinho have only lost 1 of his last 35 games vs top 4 opposition according to Sky, and he has yet to lose a single game vs Wenger. This does not only have to do with the strenght of the squad like some of the excuses from the Arsenal camp suggests, but ofcourse also a whole lot to do with tactics. Mourinho unlike Wenger do not have a philosophy other than winning by any means neccesary. Our Wage bill have also actually surpassed Chelsea now according to the telegraph, so the excuse that Chelsea got such a world class squad compared to us is also outdated as of last season.

The main difference between Wenger and for example Mourinho or Fergie is that Wenger had a philosophy he believed in and he has stuck to it faithfully through the years win lose or draw, never compromise. So in that regard the City game was something of a shift in how Wenger operates if it continues. It was a tactic of someone wanting to win rather than someone looking to play flashy football with maximum possession and entertain.

I think it was Fergie who said that he did not believe in philosophies when questioned on the matter by a journalist. because philosophies have a tendency to tie your hands and make you predictable. He said managing was all about reacting and adapting to the situation, and making the right decisions based on the information you have available. Which I take to mean that What worked one week should never be the blueprint for next week. Cause The situations change, your opponent changes and have different strenghts and weaknesses, and you need to adapt accordingly if you want to be at the top of the table come May. Can compare it to Boxing, they analyze and draw a battle plan based on the opposition strenghts and weaknesses. That is how you win belts, unless you are the baddest mofo in the valley like Mike Tyson in his prime and just knock em out in 3 secs flat tactics be damnex, Or if you have by far the strongest squad in the league with perfect balance like City last season or Arsenal in 04, then you can get away with Gung Ho tactics and still win trophies.

Trez

Stop making excuses; those were henry words. I remember him also saying how worried he was that we didn’t do so.

Edu's Braces

Deep breaths buddy

GoonerN16

In response to Loke, post below; do you seriously think that the fact that, The Arsenal have remained in the top four through thick and thin, not to mention the Invincibles and an unbeaten season was haphazard chance, ie; Wenger ‘got lucky’? Get a grip!

JC

Wenger should rest Santi this weekend.

WizardOfOzil

I have a severe mancrush on Mesut Ozil, but there’s just no way he’s taking Santi out of the team on this form.

GunnerDareMACEDONIA

I’m absolutely sure that they can play together.

Abzey

The younger Ozil who used to take on players everywhere on the pitch, all the time + Cazorla in form = a match made in heaven.

GoonerN16

But I would love to see Ozil back on the pitch, and what better opportunity than the next game v Brighton?

muchadoaboutnot

He had a perfect dance too after his assist for the second goal

assistantref

Yeah that was just so good. Best dance celebration ever.

Joel Carter

The attention to detail shown by Arsene Wenger is incredible. Who else would have seen that he takes a step towards the wall?

goonero

Wenger doesn’t do tactics they said. Sends his teams out with zero prep they said. If anything this shows how much he truly is a micro-manager.

Loke

Everyone? At the top level nothing is left to chance, especially before a cup final, and if a keeper allways step towards the wall on freekicks, it is pretty f ing easy for analysts to pick up on that.

Just like United picked up on Neuer going low in one on one situations to provoke a chip then he jumps. But Welbeck still tried the chip in that bayern game despite Fergie telling him to shoot low if he came 1 on 1. 🙂 Bet he got an earfull for that.

But then there are all the details the defenders need to know about attackers, like which foot is Aguero’s weakest, which rooms on the field can we expect him to try and exploit, are there any special tricks he like to pull one one one?. If we win a penalty, which way does the keeper usually go? Or if they get a penalty Ospina would know where City’s penalty taker usually places the ball and make an informed decision on where to throw himself. and so on. All of this is relayed to the players before games.

That is a given. The Wenger critique is more based on his unwillingness to set up the team based on the opposition. He has been very true to his philosophy and stuck in his ways through the years, and the way he set up the team vs City was very uncharacteristic of Wenger.

happy gunner

I’m.sure all the arsenal supporting kids want a tiny Santo teddy now a days, not those little bears, but a cazorla instead.

Double98

Wow that was revealing – Wenger doesn’t just concentrate on his own teams strengths!
I never thought he did but all you hear is about his tactical naievity/ stubbornness.

he obviously studies his opponents very closely and clever players listen

santi is living my dream

SoqedHozi

He has always altered his tactics, but it’s normally very subtle – much like this. Sometimes it’s the speed of approach play (vs Swansea 2012 I think is a good example) or pressing higher.

Rave

Imagine if J*** M******* made a substitution and changed his formation to 4 – 4 – 2 in the last 10 mins, to then go and overturn a game and win away from home after being 1-0 down all game. The media will make you think some sort of genius. When Arsene Wenger does it against Anderlecht its “lucky escape” from a tactically clueless manager. Underated

Papas

Wenger out!

CB

Even if we appreciate the humour, can’t thumb you up.

Eduardo's shin pad

But just to prove I got it, I will like yours

Naija Fan

I don’t think most people want Wenger out, injuries has really affect the team’s performance over the years when he had to manager with little finance and still remain relevant in both domestic and eufa competitions.But we have also seen games lost where we should have won due to tactics. On the balance Wenger has done well. With the current financial strenght we all want to see the club go back to winning ways.

Bolarinwa Mayowa

We have capable wingers in Alexis, Theo, AOC, Welbeck and even Gnabri, and in the AM is Rosicky, Ramsey, AOC, Alexis and the unstoppable Cazorla at the momment, all in great form and also ready to work tirelessly for the team, as evident with the performance vs city, as talented and craetive as Carzorla is, he still led Arsenal in stats u’l expect a matic or a Viera to excel in, Alexis, TR7, Chamberlain will run through walls for this team, I’m not trying to criticize Ozil here but it takes more than just talent to excel in football this days, as much as we miss him when he was out injured, though he’s more likely to start on sunday, but after that i’d rather we stick to the mid field trio of Ramsey/Frances/Carzorla for now.

King_bilo

Who is Gnabry?

ARiddlingName

If that’s a joke given his disappearance cause of injuries, then well played.

If you seriously don’t know who he is, then that’s a shame.

I seriously can’t tell. :/

Naija Fan

Ozil is a great player, but his work rate is below Santi’s. The team need to work for each other at all times. For any to start ahead the other or player together,it will depend on how wenger wants to play.I think with Santi’s performance in the middle so far,it may not be wise to put him on the bench.

heihaci

we all know Cazorla has the ability as he proved in one of the seasons earlier

I hope he plays like this all the time

GunnerDareMACEDONIA

Blogs you have to change the arrows in the news feed for listing, you can barely see them and you can easily miss click them and it’s annoying, i think it was much better with the dots which when you click them or miss clicked them never goes straight to the post.

Hoosier Gunner

Adding to the site issues, the “home” button at the top to click through to “Arseblog home” page is either too transparent or just a visual gimmick and doesn’t have a link. I always get redirected to the button beneath it, which is stats or video depending on cursor location. This is on the PC by the way.

GunnerDareMACEDONIA

I was also talking about the issue with the listing and arrows from PC, the mobile app for android is great.

Perry S.

fuck all the wenger haters. love that excerpt…

sambo

Continuing on from what he said about Carzola being the perfect role model he cited the perfect two feet he can use and the fact in the modern game its imperative for a kid to use 2 feet . So to all you Gooner dads on here! Get your kid using two feet from a young age. Thanks 😀

Arsenal Wenger

CAZ-ORLA!

NOT

CAR-ZOLA!

David

Lay off, I made the same mistake a few times on this site 🙂

I was told that Car-zola sounds like a wonderful Russian car, haha

AK 57

Blimey. Wenger’s attention to detail is absolutely ridiculous.

Trez

Ozil and Santi can play together. For me, the real problem is where Wilshere is going to fit in when he comes back. I know he’s our future captain and all, but I judt don’t see where he’s gonna fit

GoonerN16

Really? Not unless he makes serious improvement in ball control and even more important in reading the game…

The Ox is a fox

There’s always a loan place at West Ham

Klass

I always thought he was a great signing! Prefer him in the deeper role so his vision becomes more influential on the team. Really showed his tenacity defending against city.

Thierry Walcott

That freekick would have been hit straight at the wall and still would have got in, Santi’s fuckin’ excellent!

gunnermite

I wonder what that India inscribed tatoo Santi always kiss when he scores mean

cb

Santi has a love for India and especially the food. I regularly see him at our local Indian restaurant. He is so well known and popular the waiters serenade him there:

He’s fat, he’s round, his arse is on the ground…

Arsenal Wenger

His daughter is named ‘India’. Hence the tattoo.

MPLS

Well, since this is actually the truth I can’t fathom why someone would vote it down. His son’s name on the right forearm, daughter India on the left.

WengersMagicHat

Well, I think Santi is a fantastic footballer. It really was the right decision from Wenger’s point of view to ship away Podolski and Sanogo. It is unbelievable to say it, but at this very moment it could actually prove difficult for Özil to ‘get’ a starting position.

FRANCIS

Play Santi in the middle of the park…….. Keep the guns blazing

Nasri's missing chinbone
Nasri's missing chinbone

Rather refreshing to hear a player explicitly state just how good a manager they have. Usually I would think shhh, stop giving his secrets away! However, when such information divulged is essentially a resounding steaming turd on the vociferous clubfooted wenger out brigade I say amen, preach away santi.

GoonerN16

Absolutely, the ‘clubfooted’ and knuckle dragging, #wengerout brigade, absorb what Santi has said, or #wengerout’fans’, out…..

santori

Plenty of voices pronouncing Santi’s career over not just recently at start of season.

Similar voices were on Walcott, Ramsey, Jack recently, Ozil, Ox.

Similar voices did not give either Bellerin or Coquelin a chance pronouncing them desperate moves or squad players at best.

Similar voices said Giroud was useless and now underate Flamini who has improved since Arteta was out.

Man Manny

Such refreshing article…especially the bit about the Hull keeper. Who would see that except a manager who is given to detail?
Carzola or Ozil? I will say: the Team comes first. The manager has the responsibility of giving the team the best possible chance of winning the game. So he will pick his team based on that. Ozil and Carzola may find themselves on the bench once in a while if that will make for the team doing well.
There are lots of games from next month so all should strive to be fit first of all.
Talking about fitness, I think we have come to the end of the road with Diaby. Sad end(Arsenal-wise) for such a talented footballer. I hope he can still make something out of what has been a very disappointing career, all because of that journey man Dan Smith.

The Fonz

I remember at the time thinking it was odd that Santi went to the keeper’s side of the goal rather than over the wall. This explains everything, wonderful!

Le Coqz

Great comments by Santi. I love those tiny bits of info which reveal the smallest details about managers analysing the opposition

Arsepedant

Fantastic stuff from Santi. I love these insights into the top-level game.

And very sad news today about Diaby. Could have been one of the world’s best, but now I can’t see him playing again. And I even bought his jersey this year. Hopefully that cunt taxi-driver Dan Smith will have a painful yeast infection for the rest of his life.

santori

………………………………..Giroud…………………………………………
Campbell…………..Ramsey………..Ozil……………………….Walcott
………………………………..Flamini……………………………………….
Gibbs………………..Per……………….Chambers………………Bellerin
…………………………………Szsc……………………………………………

Still a frightfully talented and strong squad to face BrightonHA

I don’t see Ozil, Walcott etc as a negative. It can only be a positive competition for spots with FA cup and CL necessitating rotation along with PL. Players fall in and out of form. We toast certain players now but that does not mean other players do not come back into good form.