Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla has revealed the secret behind his tremendous form over the past two months, a return to his favoured advanced central position.
Cazorla has excelled in the absence of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and a plethora of other midfield options, going from feast to famine in terms of goals and assists in an Arsenal shirt.
The 30-year-old failed to find the target in his 11 Premier League games before finding the target four times in December, clearly benefitting from a greater licence to roam and influence the game in the middle. The Spanish international has unsurprisingly confirmed he loves playing in the middle, which poses a problem for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger now that Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are back in the first-team picture.
Will Wenger keep Santi central?
After being named Arsenal's player of the month for December the midfield maestro admitted to the club's official website that he feels more comfortable in the middle than out wide, which is no surprise given the understanding he's building with Gunners superstar Alexis Sanchez.
Cazorla said: “I always try to make goals,” Cazorla told Arsenal Player. “It’s important for me because I am a midfielder and I always want to help the team score, and I will try to make more before the end of the season.
“I have more space [in the middle], more possibilities to score and assist, and I like this position very much. I always can help the team and I love when I play in the middle.”
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Ozil presents dilemma
Wenger clearly has a difficult decision to make in the short to medium term, does he move Cazorla to accommodate club-record signing Mesut Ozil or stick with a player in terrific form.
On paper it looks like a no-brainer, but Ozil will be desperate to finally justify that whopping £42.4 million price tag now that he's finally recovered from a knee ligament tear to play a part in Arsenal's push for Champions League qualification.
Wenger needs to keep Cazorla on song if the Gunners are to achieve their minimum target of a top-four, with the diminutive schemer creating 47 chances for his team-mates this season, second at Arsenal only to Sanchez.