Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has spoken about the changes to his game brought about by his new position in the team. The Spaniard, who is a natural attacking midfielder, played either as a wide player or as the Arsenal No. 10 for his first couple of seasons at the Emirates. However, with the arrival of Mesut Özil, he has been dropped into a deeper role, where he has adjusted beautifully as a partner to Francis Coquelin.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Santi revealed that it took him a lot of work to settle into his new duties, and that his responsibilities have increased as well (via Arsenal.com). However, he went on to add that he is enjoying playing in a more central role.
“The boss changed my position last season to play me more centrally. It’s a position I really like, though of course it means I’m further away from the opposing area so I have fewer chances to score. I’m finding my best form and I’m really enjoying the new position” he said.
“You have different responsibilities. In terms of defence, you have to defend more and you have to help the team more in terms of making sure you’re well-positioned to ensure the players in attack can stay fresh.
“We need the likes of Mesut, Alexis [Sanchez], [Aaron] Ramsey, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Theo] Walcott and [Olivier] Giroud to be fresh – so that means myself, Coquelin, [Mikel] Arteta and [Mathieu] Flamini need to be well-positioned to ensure those in attack can perform as well as possible.”
While not exactly the most physically imposing player, Santi seems to be doing well enough on the defensive front. He is perfectly willing to press and harry the opposition for the ball, and his ability to hold on to it and find a pass are invaluable. His importance to the team will only increase in the coming games, as injuries start to take their yearly toll on the Arsenal squad. Hopefully, he can bag himself a few goals as well.