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OOTB Scout: Santi Cazorla

pg-48-cazorla-getty

Arsenal vs Sunderland

18-08-12

Santi Cazorla is a Spanish footballer, currently plying his trade with Arsenal FC in England. He has also played for Villareal and Malaga in the past, and is a well-respected player in Spain, making 46 appearances for the national team. He is currently 27 years old and stands at 1.68 m tall.

Positions: Due to the fact that he’s ambidextrous, Cazorla can play in a wide variety of positions, making him even more useful to his manager. He’s a creative player by nature and therefore generally plays as either a winger or in attacking central positions. He also specializes in taking set pieces and has scored a number of memorable free kicks.

Performance in the game: Santi Cazorla started the game in the center of midfield along with Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta. He was generally afforded more freedom, giving him the license to play his creative game, and dictate the tempo. He did so, and his performance was characterized by short and accurate passes to teammates, most of which found their mark. He almost made an instant impact in the 4th minute when he got past an opposing midfielder with a little shimmy and unleashed a powerful long range shot which was barely tipped over the bar by Simon Mignolet. From the resultant corner, his accurate delivery found Abou Diaby in the box, but the French was taken by surprise and could not capitalize on the situation. His delivery from set-pieces was another positive from the game, as his corner kicks, with the exception of one, always tested the defense. In another incident, his interplay with Gervinho led to a cut-back, but the shot he took was off target, and was taken off the toes of Lukas Podolski. He tended to drift into wide areas through the game and deliver crossed balls rather than take up a position in the center and thread balls behind the defence, a policy which probably led to isolating Lukas Podolski for his time on the pitch. His best moment in the match came when he ran with the ball and played a reverse ball behind the defense into the path of Oliver Giroud who missed a glorious opportunity to win the game.

In general, Cazorla looks like a player who can pass the ball very well, and dictate the tempo of the game. He’s always very willing to take long-range shots and run at the defense, but mixes this with his effective passing very well to create a potentially dangerous and unpredictable combination. He put in a good performance overall, which is evidenced by the fact that he was voted Man of the Match by fans.

Strengths:

Technique: His obvious technical mastery of the ball was on display last night as he constantly received and passed the ball in tight areas with ease. His range of passing wasn’t just restricted to short passes, and showed good crossing ability from wide areas as well. His long-range effort which was on target curled and dipped a lot, and was powerful and accurate.

Set-Pieces: Cazorla has long been respected in Spain for his quality from dead ball situations. Some of his corner kicks caused problems in the Sunderland defense, and they were, for the most part, very accurate. He’s also very famous for his free kick taking, scoring a number of goals from such situations, including a memorable one against Real Madrid last season, an injury time equalizer at the Bernabeu.

Consistency: Cazorla is a man who has averaged almost 30 league appearances a season over 10 years. Such consistency is no joke, and at a club like Arsenal, where injuries have been a problem in the past, is definitely a welcome trait.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx77iVjGMfc&w=420&h=315]

Weaknesses:

Attitude: One worrying aspect of the mental make-up of this player is that he allowed his shoulders to drop too easily as the game went on and Arsenal found it hard to break Sunderland down. He should probably get used to playing against the ‘bus’ as a number of teams might employ similar tactics against a very talented Arsenal side.

Gestation: Perhaps this will be a worry only in the short run for Arsenal, but in the game last night, he seemed to be on a different wavelength from some of his teammates at times. This, however, is not very worrying as it can be cured with a game-time and training.

As far as transfer prospects are concerned, none would be the correct answer as of now, because this player has joined Arsenal only 2 weeks back. However, a cheeky prediction would not rule out a move to Manchester City in the near future.

Click here to see other OOTB Scout Reports

Picture Credits to:

independent.co.uk

flickr.com

zimbio.com

Vishal Patel

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