Arsenal star Cazorla is better than Chelsea's Mata

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Football News

Juan Mata stole the headlines last season, and not without good reason, after a superb individual campaign for Chelsea.

In the season before that, David Silva was the talk of the Premier League, helping Manchester City claim their first Premier League title with a series of excellent performances.

And this season it could be the turn of Santi Cazorla, who has been fantastic for Arsenal since returning from injury - netting his first goal of the season against Liverpool on Saturday to help lift the Gunners five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

The 28-year-old was arguably Arsenal's best player last season, his debut campaign in the Premier League, but he slipped under the radar mainly because the Gunners were battling for a top-four finish rather than the title.

Nevertheless, Cazorla injected some real class into the Arsenal side on arrival from Malaga - and ended the season with 12 Premier League goals to his name, the same number Mata scored in a much better side, and a whopping eight more than Silva netted.

No player in the Premier League is as two-footed as Cazorla, who can dribble his way out of the tightest spaces thanks to his ambidexterity, quick brain and phenomenal close control.

Mata and Silva are both gifted left-footed playmakers, but keep them on their right feet - easier said than done, of course - and their effectiveness is seriously limited.

No such problem exists for Cazorla, who can play wide right, left or through the middle. That versatility must make him a dream for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who simply had to find a way to shoe-horn Cazorla back into his starting line-up, even though the team were functioning fairly well without him.

If anything, Cazorla has returned from injury with a real spring in his step, inspired by two things: the fact his team are top of the table and the arrival of German superstar Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid.

By capturing the £42.4m playmaker's services, Wenger sent out a major statement of intent, and it has had a positive impact on everyone at the Emirates Stadium in recent months - including Cazorla, who appreciates quality when he sees it.

The strength in depth Arsenal currently possess in the midfield areas means Wenger can afford to rotate Cazorla when required this term, leaving him fresh for the club's key matches.

And if he can continue to play a decisive role in the big games, the debate about which club has the best Spanish playmaker will soon be resolved.

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Juan Mata
Premier League
David Silva
Santi Cazorla

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