Santiago "Santi" Cazorla González was destined to live in the shadow of the golden generation of Spanish football.
The reigning World and European champions have a wealth of talent in midfield - a midfield where a player as accomplished as former Arsenal favourite, Cesc Fabregas struggles to get a look-in.
The 28-year-old Spaniard can clearly count himself unlucky as far his national team aspirations are concerned, to be plying his trade in this generation. However, his first year in the Barclays Premier League has been nothing short of class. How he missed out on being nominated for the PFA Team of the Year is baffling.
This season, Cazorla has more often than not deployed at the attacking tip of the midfield trio - the position Fabregas dominated from. His creativity, flair, energy and ability to soak up the physical side of the Premier league has been eye catching as it has been surprising.
For a player born and brought up in the technical school of Spanish football, to step up to the rough and tumble of the English Premier League must count as one of his great achievements in his career.
A quick feet, stout resolve, flair for the genius and two-footedness has graced the stadia across the length and breadth of the country. This has been his highest scoring season in his league career to date.
A feat surely he must be surprised with in his first season at the Emirates. Recently with Tomas Rosicky fit and firing, he has been deployed on the left of attack. But his ability to cut in to the centre of the park and his excellent link up play has meant an extra man in the centre of midfield.
He himself has credited Arsenal's style of play as the reason for his smooth bedding in. But he has absorbed the physical style of the play in the Premier League and the burden of expectations better than imagined.
Stats show a 87% pass accuracy and greater than 80 % pass accuracy in the final third of the pitch. He has also created a chance for the team every 35 minutes he has been on the pitch.
These chances, with a better finisher, would have meant on an average Arsenal would have scored 2 – 3 goals every match. Therein lies the tragedy of the season for the Gunners.
While Fabregas and Robin van Persie could never have the same title winning impact because of the Dutchman’s frequent injuries, and the fact that the first season he remained injury free the Spaniard had already moved back to his hometown club, Cazorla has another fellow first-timer, Olivier Giroud to try and finish off his moves.
The odds are the 2013/14 season is going to be the return of the glory years for Arsenal Football Club. Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, Roberto Mancini's sacking and Chelsea’s instability will aid Arsenal’s challenge for honours.
While each of these three teams will strengthen their squads in the transfer window, the Gunners will have Cazorla and a hopefully fit-again Jack Wilshere to drive their title charge next season.
With expected additions to the attack in the transfer season, the crafty Spaniard can hope to go on his merry way to becoming a Gunner legend, starting off with guaranteeing a top four finish this season, and then taking the team ahead to further glory.
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