In the Premier League.
Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla shined as Arsenal came from behind to win 3-1 at Upton Park this evening to keep them within 7 points of league leaders Chelsea.
Little more than a week ago I compared the £16.5 million summer arrival from Malaga with Eden Hazard and Shinji Kagawa as to who was the better of the big summer playmaker signings. The Arsenal signing came out on top in most categories.
After this evening’s performance at Upton Park, I’m wondering if there is any player playing better than the Arsenal number 19 right now. I think Chelsea’s Juan Mata is the only player who could give him a run for his money.
Since starting the season with two 0-0 draws, against Sunderland Stoke City, Arsenal have found their form, despite losing 2-1 at home to Chelsea last weekend. That came after a hard-earned point at Manchester City, whom they remain just 3 points behind after finishing last season 19 points behind the Premier League Champions.
The 5’6” Oviedo youth completed 88% of his passes versus West Ham this evening and completed 24% of his 17 cross attempts against a tall West Ham unit that included both Andy Carroll and James Collins who make a living off crosses.
Santi Cazorla failed to register an assist in the game but created 3 chances for team mates including one for Olivier Giroud late on following a contender for pass of the season. He capped off his performance with an audacious 25 yard left-footed strike that gave Jussi Jaaskelainen no chance as it secured all 3 points for Arsenal.
That strike was Cazorla’s second in the Premier League; both away from home following his first in a 2-0 victory at Liverpool in gameweek 3. Of the 26 chances created for team mates this season, 2 have lead to goals. And has said in at least one previous post, team mate Olivier Giroud’s poor finishing has kept those numbers down. Cazorla has completed 91% of his passes on the season, including 86% in the final third.
Such an industrious midfielder, it appears there are few passes Cazorla cannot make, and has no problem completing a pass with a number of opponents surrounding him. The occasional over hit pass leading to a goal kick has been noted.
After the international break, Arsenal’s next two Premier League fixtures are against Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers, with Schalke 04 in the Champions League in between. Fixtures for Cazorla and Arsenal to emphasise their good performances at the start of this campaign.