Santi Cazorla: Full-backs vital to Arsenal's style

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Arsenal player Santi Cazorla believes the club's full-backs play a 'pivotal role' in the Gunners team.

Speaking to, Cazorla stressed the importance of the likes of Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs to Arsenal's style of play, with Arsene Wenger's side short of natural wingers.

With the likes of Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Cazorla operating out wide, their inclination to come inside leaves gaps out wide that can be filled by the Gunner's advancing defenders.

Sagna highlighted the space Arsenal full-backs are afforded against Dortmund on Tuesday when his dangerous cross was eventually turned in by Olivier Giroud.

“I believe that full backs have a pivotal role in our team,” Cazorla told Arsenal Player. “We don’t have pure wingers.

“Perhaps Theo Walcott is the most natural winger in the squad. He likes to be on the wing to make use of his speed, but apart from him we don’t have natural wingers.

“Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky or myself are not sticking strictly to the touchline. Therefore we open up spaces so our full backs have a corridor where they can go up and down."

Arsenal - currently top of the Premier League and joint top of their Champions League group - await the return of Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who also operate in the wide positions.

However, With Podolski preferring a central role and Oxlade-Chamberlains future destined to be spent as a centre-midfielder, the Gunners can sometimes lack width.

The club allowed winger Gervinho to leave the club in the summer and the Ivorian has settled to life with Roma quickly, as the club also sit top of the league.

Despite this perceived lack of directness, Cazorla is confident in his side's measured, possession-based approach:

“Our ball possessions are long but they can break through by surprise. That’s why full backs are really important for our team. You can see that every game.”

Cazorla will be looking to help Arsenal bounce back from defeat against Dortmund on Saturday when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

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Bacary Sagna
Kieran Gibbs
Theo Walcott
Santi Cazorla

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