Man of the Match: Santi Cazorla

Shaun Botterill

The Spaniard turned in a fantastic performance, resulting in Arsenal turning a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 win.

Santi Cazorla will probably be the first to admit that he has not been as good this season as he was last, when he was Arsenal's best player. This season, a late start because of efforts for Spain in the Confederations Cup, then injury, and the signing of Mesut Özil relegated Cazorla to a secondary creative role for Arsenal. After coming to life in January, he struggled with the absence of Özil, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott, looking particularly lost when there was very little movement ahead of him. All of a sudden, the dribbles out of pressure would only result in a square pass to Mathieu Flamini, who would promptly lose it.

On Wednesday, though, Cazorla played his best football for Arsenal since the second half of the home match against City, and certainly his best full match in two months. Not only did Cazorla have the second best pass completion rate (91%) but he also created 3 of Arsenal's chances, and completed 2 out of 3 through balls. The first was an exquisite pass between two West Ham defenders for Olivier Giroud, who's finish was a poor man's impression of a drunk Nicklas Bendtner against Barcelona. The second got Arsenal level; collecting possession from Stewart Downing's poor clearance, he played the ball right to where Lukas Podolski, who then did his one football skill, hitting the ball really hard into the net.

Cazorla was unlucky not to add a goal to his performance, sending a left footed shot just wide after a brilliant counter attack, one that started with the little Spaniard in the Arsenal penalty area. That was not the first time Cazorla was the further forward, and he showed a desire to get into better goal-scoring positions than he has in recent weeks. It was an altogether excellent performance, and he was involved in everything good Arsenal did, also adding a little more defensive responsibility, giving support to Thomas Vermaelen on multiple occasions. He instantly re-connected with Aaron Ramsey, with the two playing some nice, quick inventive flicks. If Arsenal win out, and clinch 4th, Cazorla will undoubtedly play a major role.

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