Posts Tagged ‘santi Cazorla’

Football

Arsenal update – Wilshere, Cazorla and others face late fitness tests

By Stefano on April 19th, 2013

After drawing with Everton at the Emirates on Tuesday Arsenal’s game against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday is a must win for the Gunners.

However it looks like Arsene Wenger has got some serious worries on the injury front.

Wenger said “there are a number of uncertainties about our squad. At the back everyone should available. In midfield we have a few people to check like Cazorla, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain. They will all have tests but I hope they should be alright.

“We have to test Rosicky who was not ready to start on Tuesday. There are a number of uncertainties about our squad but I will sort that out on Friday morning.”

Wilshere doesn’t yet seem sharp enough to playing vital games so maybe a stint on the bench isn’t a disaster. However Cazorla was sensational towards the end of the Everton game and not starting with with either of the players will leave Arsenal short of midfield drive and flair. The situation is made worse by the long term injury to Abou Diaby and the fact that Tomas Rosicky isn’t 100% fit either.

On the plus side at least Aaron Ramsey is playing well and Wenger can start Francis Coquelin alongside the Welshman and Mikkel Arteta with Podolski taking Cazorla’s place on the left.

We’ll find out more at the press conference later today.

Incidentally Lukasz Fabianski is still sidelined so Wojciech Sczcesny will start. The Pole did well against Everton and I really hope that this is the start of him getting his confidence back.



Football

Are Arsenal better without Wilshere and with Cazorla in the middle?

By Stefano on April 17th, 2013

Depending on who you were talking to last night Arsenal either grabbed the one point that will probably be enough to give them a Champions League place or dropped a pair of points which will let their London rivals back in the race.

To be fair The Gunners were a tad unfortunate. Had Olivier Giroud had his shooting boots on or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain shot rather than passed when coming in on goal from the right they might have nabbed all three points.

One thing was very clear though – they posed much more of a threat after the reshuffle which saw Wilshere and Walcott replaced by Podolski and Chambeerlain. But it wasn’t those two players’ contributions that made the difference – it was Santi Cazorla who sparkled in the middle of the field, rather than on the left where he had been playing up until then.

Of course Everton legs, which had done an amazing job of constantly pressing the Gunners, were tiring. But I think yesterday provided more ammunition for those who think that Cazorla needs to start in the middle with Podolski on the left.

Arsenal seem to have more balance and are more direct in this formation. It does beg the question though if Cazorla is in the middle, where does Wenger play Wilshere? It was another quiet-ish game for the England starlet as he tangled with a very physical Everton team intent on controlling the middle of the field. There were touches of the Wilshere of old, but the player is still clearly not entirely fit.

The Mail yesterday also ran the stats that Arsenal win 55 per cent of games when the midfielder is missing and 51.9 per cent when he plays.

I wonder if Wenger will keep the Spaniard in the centre for the game against Fulham and leave Wilshere out?

It does strike me that the key problem that Wenger has had this year has been how to get the best out of his new signings and especially how they can complement his existing core players. There is a huge amount of work to be done over the summer.



Football

Is Stevan Jovetic to Arsenal a done deal?

By Stefano on March 27th, 2013

So what did you make of Stevan Jovetic last night then? It was a game of two halves for the Montenegrin striker. In the first half he was sloppy when passing, wandered into offside positions and troubled the England central defending pair very little.

But in the second half, with the arrival of Dejan Damjanoviche dropped deeper, got more possession, ran more at the English defence and created several goal scoring opportunities.

Did he remind you of anyone? RVP perhaps? You get the feeling that he would link up very well with Santi Cazorla with Olivier Giroud as the option as the main striker.

At least one news source is suggesting that Jovetic will be an Arsenal player in the summer. Caught Offside says that the clubs are…

‘Reportedly in advanced talks over a move to sign Fiorentina striker Stevan Jovetic the first Gunners signing of what may well prove to be a very busy summer for the North London side.

Though the La Viola attacker is said to have a host of prospective suitors Arsenal are said to be the favourites to sign Jovetic, with Arsene Wenger looking to bring in the forward to help beef up his strike-force.’

Arsenal can clearly afford him and the money on offer is reputedly £90,000 per week. Like a lot of Montenegrins Jovetic is a big fan of the Premiership and is seemingly very keen to play in England.

What could,possibly go wrong?

Well Arsenal could very easily be gazumped with Man City the favourites to make Jovetic a better offer. But then again the Blues are apparently chasing a number of high profile players including Falcao and Cavani. Jovetic knows that he is Wenger’s number one target.

One person who hasn’t helped much though is Jovetic’s team mate Luca Toni. The player said yesterday…

“If he has to leave, then make it for a real top club. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United fit that bill, but Arsenal are not better than Fiorentina.”

Which in many ways is a fair point, especially if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League.

There’s also the possibility of a move within Italy too.

It is clear that Jovetic is the man who could ignite Arsenal’s season next year. The club’s lack of firewpower especially when compared with United who have Rooney and Wellbeck (arguably England’s best players last night) alongside RVP is woeful.

Let’s hope that the deal is done quickly.



Football

Arsenal update: is Cazorla more effective without Wilshere?

By Stefano on March 18th, 2013

Ok, so it is just a theory, but it seems to be one that more and more Arsenal fans are discussing and that is the possibility that Arsenal aren’t always at their best with both Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere in the team.

And trying to accommodate them both might not be in the club’s best interests.

So here’s the theory. Cazorla is a wonderfully versatile player. This season Wenger has played him on the left wing, as a conventional central midfield player and in the hole behind the striker. He has also wandered on to the right wing from time to time.

In theory his versatility makes him a manager’s dream. However Cazorla seems to be at his most comfortable when playing in the middle of the park pushing forward, not stuck out on the wing. And that’s a position that suits Jack Wilshere’s game too.

The difference between the two is that Wilshere is excellent at making runs from deep positions carrying the ball with him past midfielders. With Cazorla, his bursts are shorter, but he is better than the Englishman at wiggling his way into goal scoring situations, and at the moment that is something that is sorely lacking in the Arsenal team.

Against Bayern Cazorla was pushed out left again to accommodate Rosicky and ended up having a quiet game. Against Swansea, with a more central position, he was able to make those trademark runs and get into stronger attacking positions.

What Cazorla is genius at is getting close to the box and then taking on defenders or threading balls through to other attackers. He did it many times in the game against Swansea and looked Arsenal’s best player by far.

Without Wilshere it gave Wenger the option of adding a more defensively minded midfielder to work with Arteta. On Saturday it was Diaby, who to be fair had a poor game. Ramsey has played in this position recently and looked very solid.

What potentially is an option for Arsenal going forward is to link Cazorla up to a more mobile striker – Jovetic being the current favourite, but it needs to be a striker with pace and great positional sense (which aren’t really Giroud’s strengths). The pair could be deadly for Arsenal next season.

I should add that Arsenal looked fairly strong until Wilshere’s return, although admittedly they had lost a couple of games just before he came back. Also on several occasions this season Wilshere has been the only Arsenal player worthy of wearing the shirt.

The big question remains though – where does Wilshere fit in? He is surely wasted as a defensive midfielder.

If Wenger can work out to get the best of them playing together Arsenal will boast an incredible midfield.

As for the short term I wonder how often we will see Wilshere again this season. So maybe Wenger needs to play Ramsey alongside Arteta (thereby also offering more protection for the defence) with Cazorla pushed right through the middle?

Who knows? Maybe that Champions League position is attainable after all.



Football

Are Arsenal going to hit Malaga for yet another player?

By Stefano on March 4th, 2013

Bit of an interesting one this which I guess is more speculation than hard fact for now.

But  HITC is suggesting that Arsene Wenger is considering his campaign to reunite the Malaga team from last year at The Emirates by signing 29 year old French defensive midfielder Jeremy Toulalan.

Malaga are currently one of the hottest teams in Spain. They are fourth in La Liga and still in the Champions League. However mounting financial troubles mean that they have had to sell off several off their players and Arsenal have already profited with a great deal for Cazorla and a potentially good one for Monreal too.

Toulalan would be a good fit for the Gunners. He has played with Sagna and Diaby in the French national side and obviously knows Monreal and Cazorla’s game very well.

He is also strong in the tackle and has good vision for a largely defensively minded player.

He has said he is leaving Malaga in the summer and Atlético Madrid are interested in his services. Newcastle have been monitoring him too as they are apparently light on French players (not).

Arsenal fans will be hoping for a higher profile signing like a Capoue, but if that Champions League place doesn’t happen then Toulalan could be a useful and cheaper alternative.



Football

Why Cazorla is the key man for Arsenal against Spurs

By Stefano on March 1st, 2013

Arsene Wenger has two separate formats for his 4-2-3-1 formation this season. At the start of the campaign, he fielded two wide forwards, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, either side of Santi Cazorla, with Olivier Giroud upfront. That gives Arsenal pace on the flanks, and a classic number ten between the lines.

However, in recent weeks Wenger has experimented with Cazorla drifting inside from the left, the role where he made his name at Villarreal. This changes the balance of Arsenal’s attacking department: Cazorla becomes an extra central midfielder and helps dominate possession, while Jack Wilshere can play higher up the pitch, in the ‘number ten’ role.

It’s tricky to guess which system Arsene Wenger will favour for this weekend’s North London derby. Arsenal’s left-winger will be facing Spurs right-back Kyle Walker, who is impressive going forward, but has been poor defensively this season. Attacking him might be wise, but Wenger will also want to guard against his storming forward runs. However, neither Podolski, who jogs back half-heartedly, or Cazorla, who was caught out by Philipp Lahm when moved to the left against Bayern, offers a perfect solution.

Instead, Wenger might look at the midfield zone, where Cazorla’s movement into central positions should allow Arsenal to pass around Spurs’ three-man midfield. If Wilshere and Cazorla can get in behind Scott Parker, Arsenal might cause real problems; and with Cazorla scoring Arsenal’s last three goals from that left-sided role, it seems likely Wenger will continue with his ‘new’ system.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.

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Football

Arsenal update: Confirmed Nacho Monreal signs for £8.3 million

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

Finally it is official. Arsenal have signed a player in the transfer window.

It might not have been the players that the fans hoped for but Nacho Monreal is clearly a quality signing. The club have apparently been tracking the player for a while and according to Arsenal insiders it was likely they were going to complete the move in the summer.

However the injury to Kieran Gibbs and the disastrous form of Andre Santos meant that club agreed the deal earlier than they had planned.

Monreal, who is a Spanish international, comes from Malaga where his team mate up until last summer was one Santi Cazorla.

Monreal is however cup tied in the Champions League, so it will be either Santos or Vermaelen playing against Bayern Munich.

Arsène Wenger said: “We are delighted that Nacho Monreal has agreed to join us. We have been monitoring him for some time now and are really pleased that we’ve been able to agree this move today. Monreal is a strong left-sided defender with good experience at both club and international level. He is a technically gifted player, a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air. Monreal will add quality to our squad and of course, to our defensive unit. We all look forward to him playing for us.”

Here’s the news from the club site

Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Spanish international defender Nacho Monreal has agreed to join the Gunners on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.

Monreal (26), who will join Arsenal from Spanish La Liga side Malaga, is predominantly a left full-back and has represented his country Spain at youth level, Under-21s and has made nine appearances for the national team.

Full name Ignacio Monreal Eraso, but known as ‘Nacho’, the defender started his career with his hometown club Osasuna, where he progressed through the youth ranks to become a regular in the first team, making 127 appearances for the La Liga side. During that time he was an integral part of the team which reached the Europa League Semi-Final in 2007.

Monreal’s performances for Osasuna earned him recognition on the international stage, firstly with the Spanish under-21s, where he notably started all his country’s matches in the 2009 Under-21 European Championships, and later became a full international, making his debut for Spain in a friendly win over Macedonia in August 2009.

In June 2011, Monreal signed for Malaga, where he was a regular in the team, alongside Santi Cazorla, which finished fourth in the La Liga, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. Monreal made a total of 45 appearances during his time with the southern Spanish side.

Manager Arsène Wenger said: “We are delighted that Nacho Monreal has agreed to join us. We have been monitoring him for some time now and are really pleased that we’ve been able to agree this move today. Monreal is a strong left-sided defender with good experience at both club and international level. He is a technically gifted player, a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air. Monreal will add quality to our squad and of course, to our defensive unit. We all look forward to him playing for us.”

The deal is subject to the completion of formal registration processes.



Football

Arsenal update: Rumours of a move for Malaga’s Nacho Monreal

By Stefano on January 31st, 2013

The new left back rumours are coming thick and fast now. Goal.com is reporting that the latest left back to be linked is Malaga’s Nacho Monreal.

There’s no link to any source but again this one might just have legs.

Nacho Monreal is a 26 year old who has been a regular in the Malaga team since 2011. He joined the side when money was no problem – signing on from Osasuna for 6 million Euros.

These days Malaga have cash issues which is one of the reasons why Arsenal were able to sign Santi Cazorla from the team in the summer.

The pacey left back is more defensively minded than Kieran Gibbs and would certainly rival him for first choice left back.

The down side for Wenger is that the player has been consistently linked with other clubs – including Man United – but has so far chosen to stay in Spain.

With several players familiar with another target Valenciennes’ Gaetan Bong, it sounds like Arsene has been asking his squad members who they would most like to play again with…




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