I have been following the Spanish national team since 2008 when they won the European Championship, maybe because Fabregas was part of the team. While I was fantasized by the trickery, skill and creativity of players like Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso and co, I was too keen about Santi Carzola. So when Arsene Wenger went for the little Spainard, I was angry, not just because I did not like him but mainly that I was still recovering from the sale of Robin Van Persie.
So you can imagine how I felt when Arsenal opened the season with two consecutive goalless draws (Sunderland and Stoke). However, Santi slowly won me and millions of gooners over.
His first goal against Liverpool at Anfield, the unplayable performance against Tottenham, the ‘catch me if you can’ shot in the West Ham game and so many other quality performances went a long way in cementing his place in my gooner heart. He was the shining light of last season and it came to me as no surprise when he won the player of the season.
This season has not been the same. Maybe he is suffering from second season syndrome. In all fairness, Santi has had troubles this season. After the very hectic nature of last season where the gooners played their hearts out to come fourth, he had little or no time to rest as he was off to Brazil for the Confederation Cup. This made him miss the entire pre-season with Arsenal. When he came back, he came in ass a substitute in the Villa game, played very well against Fulham and Fernabache and then got injured. He came back from the one month lay-off and went straight into the first 11. He has had a topsy- turvy season.
In the game against Everton, he had a rough time.
- He attempted 2 shots of which only one was on target.
- For a player of Santi’s quality, he made no key passes…shocking!
- We know Santi to be a very good dribbler of the ball but in the Everton game, just made 1 dribble.
- He made 27 passes, the lowest among the 5 midfielders and the lowest among the out-field players (only better than Szczesny that had 10 passes)
- Had a 74 % pass completion, the lowest among the outfield players too.
- Gave only one incomplete cross despite the fact that he was playing from the wings and it was even inaccurate; when you compare the fact that Ozil made 4 successful crosses out of 6 crosses.
- Lastly, for a player like Santi, he gave no through balls, and resulted to long balls ( 2 long balls, that were inaccurate)
Santi is surely one of the most loved players at the club and is a fan’s favourite and the fans chant his name every game (oooohhh, Santi Carzola) but the real truth is that since his goal against Liverpool, he has been below par.
Arsene should give him a breather and allow him to fully recover that super form that made many gooners look forward to his partnership with Ozil. With Rosicky and the fit again Walcott in the squad again, Carzola has players that could play his role.
I told a great gooner friend that I would not discuss this issue, but I could not resist it. It is Patrick Vieira comments.
‘I think when you look at Arsenal they play fantastic football, but you need to win games playing badly and I don’t think Arsenal are capable of that at the moment. And maybe as well there is a lack of leadership.They may not have a Tony Adams, a Sol Campbell, a Martin Keown. These kinds of players who can be a leader on and off the field.’
Patrick is a true legend of the club and would always remain dear to the fans but I don’t totally agree with him. In the years past, there has been serious complains that the arsenal team lacked leadership but this season there are certainly strong leaders. In defence, we have the Big Friendly German who is doing well, in midfield, there is Arteta and Rosicky and even Wilshere is a big leader in the making. Of course, they can’t rank with Keown, Adams or even himself; but this team is just beginning to show what they can do.
Slightly disappointed with his comments, but as the U-21 coach of Manchester City, I am not too shocked. Patrick, don’t sacrifice your glorious years on the altar of giving the media what to write #COYG
Should Carzola be rested and do you agree with Vieira comments? please drop comments below
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