Santi Cazorla’s move to the Emirates in August 2012 for a fee of £12m was considered by many as a bargain. He has lived up to the expectations of the club and its fans. With a detailed statistical analysis and comparisons of Arsenal’s top-5 goal scorers in the EPL this season with respect to appearances, creativity and goal-scoring, I will try to try to justify why Santi Cazorla has been the most consistent player for the North London club.
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Mikel Arteta, having played 2984 minutes for Arsenal this season has had a phenomenal season and controlled the game in mid-field. He has made 2750 passes with an incredible accuracy of 92%, among the highest in the top 4 leagues of Europe. Apart from this, he has also created a total of 26 chances and scored 6 goals. Starting from his favourite Pivot position, Arteta allows for the liberation of the other Arsenal midfield players by covering the gaps that appear with his intelligent movement and passing. With his pin-point crossing ability, control on the ball and propensity for the killer pass, Arteta has justified the faith put in him by the manager and has been a very consistent performer for the club throughout the season. For a more detailed analysis of Arteta’s season stats, you may want to check out http://www.eplindex.com/32048/mikel-arteta-unsung-hero.html .
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Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud were brought in to fill the void left by previous season’s talisman and now hated captain Robin Van Persie. With a combined tally of 22 goals and 3 assists, the two haven’t quite lived up to their potential. There is nothing significant about their statistics to write, apart from 11 goals each which has without a doubt helped Arsenal immensely in securing a Champions League place. There is no denying the class that the two players possess and with a season’s experience in England’s elite league behind them, a lot more can be expected from these two very talented left-footed forwards in the years to come.
Moving on, Theo Walcott’s contract issue was the talk of the season among the Arsenal faithfuls. While some believed he had not lived up to his potential and probably never will at Arsenal, majority of the fans and more importantly the club management believed in the talent of the player who was brought to the club to one day replace the King, Thierry Henry. He was in an exceptional goal scoring form in the first half of the season and under-performed to some extent after ‘Signing Da Ting’. Although he came back strongly towards the end of the season to score some amazing and possibly season-defining goals for Arsenal. Apart from that he has also made some significant contributions in terms of creating chances and crossing the ball into the box. With a total of 14 goals and 3 assists, Theo has been the club’s highest goal scorer in the league. Add to this his crossing, passing and speed, and one may conclude that this has been by far his best season for Arsenal. Many believe that he has come of age in this season. With many years of football still ahead of him, Walcott can still become one of Arsenal’s most influential players in history. With a season like this, he has justified his demands of playing as a central striker, which in my opinion is also the best suited position for him. But lets not get into that as ‘Wenger Knows Best‘ and well, Theo knows that too.
The table shows that in 38 appearances (most by any player) for Arsenal, Santi Cazorla has played a total of 3308 minutes (most by any player) and made 2471 passes with an accuracy of 87%. Cazorla has also put 184 crosses into the box with an accuracy of 24% (both best in the group*), created most number of chances (94), made 2 assists and has been Arsenal’s second highest goal scorer with 12 goals. A versatile and ambidextrous winger, Cazorla can play on either flank or as an attacking mid-fielder. He has mostly been deployed as an attacking mid-fielder but done well on the flanks whenever asked to play in that position. He has controlled the game, pressed forward with ease and formed a formidable partnership with Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere and Diaby in the mid-field and also linked well with the likes of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Gervinho and Olivier Giroud upfront. To see him adapt so well and so quickly to the English has been pleasurable to watch and it is because of his talent, work ethics and commitment. He is a real treat to watch and can do flashy things with the ball which fans love to see. With a performance like this in his very first season, he has been one of the signings of the season in England along with Hazard and Michu (#).
Based on statistics and performaces, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Santiago Cazorla González has been Arsenal’s players of the season, a fact which has also been acknowledged by the fans and the club.
*Arteta’s crossing accuracy hasn’t been considered for comparison as he has completed only 25 crosses.
# As van Persie already had an experience of 8 years in EPL, I believe the 3 have been the signings of the season.
Please note that comparisons are strictly on the basis of Statistics, which may not always represent the actual performances of the players. Some of you may have a different point of view, so feel free to share it with me here or on twitter. Until next week when I come back with some more interesting statistics and comparisons, this is me signing off to catch-up with the happenings in the transfer market like everyone else.
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