Cazorla is instrumental in everything good we do, you don’t even have to pay much attention to a game to notice that when he plays well, we play well. Hell I’d even say we’re almost unplayable.
He fills a void that not only allows Ozil the freedom to ghost through a defense but also stops Alexis coming back to the half way line every two minutes to try and receive the ball.
Now while I do agree with you that Cazorla is not the be all and end all of midefielders it’s absolutely criminal that Wenger, a man who preaches a certain system, would sabotage his own style of football by relying on a 31 year old with severe achilles problems. I thought Xhaka would perhaps be a suitable replacement but Wenger clearly doesn’t even seem to know why he bought him.
I agree with all of the above. He still doesn’t dominate games though. Much like Ozil; he is a cog that can work in harmony with others, but isn’t the archetypal all action ‘I will win this game’ type.
Which, coincidentally, I hope to god we acquire soon.
Fitness wise Santi has been very good over the years but we should be ushering in his long term successor, Dahoud fits the bill perfectly. Jack is an option but he’d need to be groomed under a new manager and then there’s the obvious fitness issues.
Xhaka could be the man also, he has all the tools to become the midfield controller we need. Long term I kinda hope he’ll become an Alonso/Kroos hybrid.
What makes you say he’s unsuitable as main DLP? That’s where his future lies IMO.
He’s essentially a complete midfielder in that he can run games, tackle, intercept and defend in the air whilst also posing a goal threat. Since he isn’t the quickest I think he would benefit playing beside someone who would be tasked with doing more of the running and b2b duties.
There’s still plenty of upside with Xhaka and long term central midfield needs to be built around him so he needs a player that compliments him and I don’t think Santi does.
Yes he can do these things, but only in small doses. Xhaka hasn’t given the impression thus far that he can boss the midfield. His lack of pace and dodgy positioning at times still raises question marks.
However his passing and aggression can’t be questioned, he obviously has these in abundance. I cannot see Xhaka doing great in our system as a B2B. For me he has to sit behind or next to someone more mobile and energetic. For example, a pair of Elneny and Xhaka potentially could be awful…but Coq-Xhaka or Santi-Xhaka would suit him more.
I think it’s more than small doses, he’s been known to do all that for fun for Gladbach and Switzerland and to a fairly high degree. He hasn’t quite been given the opportunity here yet but I think that’s more to do with him acclimatising himself to the league and obviously playing here is a different prospect.
To be a controller of the midfield the need for pace is overblown, Pirlo, Xavi, Alonso, Modric , Kroos, Santi, Scholes et al are not known for their pace. Of course these guys were/are at the apex of world football but the point remains.
I’m not lumping Xhaka with them as he has a long way to go but he’s still quite young and can still vastly improve, I agree with him not being an ideal b2b player though I said something similar. A pivot of Xhaka and Jack might have potential, Xhaka/Coq would be fine also. I’m not sure about Santi because he needs someone more mobile which perhaps why don’t seem to played together often.
If Santi is out though Xhaka must play as we lose all semblance of control without him, Elneny is at most ‘neat and tidy’. Xhaka is the only one who can hope to replicate what Santi brings to an extent.
Hmm…not so sure about this. Wenger has always had a mental block about players over a certain age (the old back 5 aside perhaps). In reality we can’t even accuse him of doing that this season considering he brought in Xahka.