Daily Archives: December 7, 2015
The ball is in the air and it reaches Nacho Monreal’s path… The fullback sees Santi Cazorla and decides to nod the ball to his teammate’s direction. It looks simple enough, all Cazorla has to do is to pluck the ball from the air and get on with things. There’s Alexis Sanchez just ahead of him and Mathieu Flamini just a couple of meters away on the right. Simple enough yeah?
Then there’s Norwich’s captain, Gary O’Neil. A decent bloke that can never hurt a fly. As a combative midfielder, he has only one thing on his mind – to win the ball and maybe to instigate an attack. It’s going to be a ’50-50′ challenge as it’s called in this part of the world.
Both players go for the ball and bam! Poor ol’ Santi gets a whack on his knee. As you would expect, the diminutive midfielder hits the deck and he’s clearly in pain. Our lead physio, Colin Lewin, rushes onto the pitch to do his thang’. Arsene Wenger doesn’t say that he’s obstructing the game or the kinda rubbish you’d hear from that bloke whose team gives more three points to away teams than the amount of times Luis Suarez scores.
Lewin isn’t Clark Kent and he can’t see that Cazorla has ruptured some ligaments but he gives the midfielder the go-ahead to continue the game. Remember that we had already lost Laurent Koscielny to what seemed to be like a hip injury during the game. Aaron Ramsey was still on the pitch so if Lewin had declared that Cazorla wasn’t fit to continue the game, we would have seen a tactical shift with Ramsey deployed in the middle and either Joel Campbell or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming into the pitch.
Shortly afterwards, our talisman, Alexis Sanchez aggravates his hamstring injury and Campbell comes on. Cazorla is still on the pitch. The player doesn’t make things better for himself. All he had to do was to do an Arteta, you know, sit his ass on the turf and signal to the bench that he’s done with things on the pitch. But like Alexis the Lion, Cazorla continues to play through the pain barrier as the game progressed.
Ramsey was having a shitefest on the right wing and Wenger decided that he had seen enough, so he removes the Welshman and brings on the Ox. All three subs used with 18 minutes plus stoppage time to spare. Cazorla is set to finish the game with a potential knee injury. It’s not as if he was looking in any form of discomfort, and to me, that’s the scary part.
In Arsene Wenger’s post-match press conference, he was obviously asked about the injury situation of his squad,
“In the first half he [Cazorla] got a kick on the knee and it got worse. I don’t know if he has jaded his knee ligament or he it was just a kick on the nerve but the worrying thing was it got worse during the game”
Oh! So he noticed!
The media started carrying all sorts of info about Cazorla’s injury and we as fans didn’t know what to believe again. We all knew one thing – Cazorla was not going to play against Sunderland and when Arsene Wenger was asked again in the pre-match press conference for the Sunderland game,
“As for Cazorla we don’t know until he sees a specialist. There is no news on that.”
Thankfully, Arsenal saw out the threat of Sunderland in Cazorla’s absence as Ramsey played in the deep-lying midfield role and he scored a goal and created an assist.
Up until his injury at Norwich, Cazorla was ever-present in the Arsenal squad, making 18 appearances this season. He has missed only one game this season, which was the game after the loss to Chelsea where he earned his first red card in Arsenal colors for two bookable offences. In his first season at Arsenal, he played 49 games, amassed 46 games in his second season, his growing importance and good fitness saw him play 53 games last season which essentially means that he has played 165 games in just four seasons for Arsenal – 15 games short of all Abou Diaby’s appearances in 10 seasons with the Gunners.
Accordingly to Sky Sports, Santi Cazorla has undergone surgery on his knee and he’s set to be out for at least four months. Wenger revealed that the player made the decision himself to go under the knife to fix his knee,
“Santi wanted to have a chance to come back quickly so he didn’t want to last too long for 25 opinions and he decided to go straight away. The guy said, ‘look it’s a clear case, it’s a rupture of the external knee ligament’. And he said ‘Okay, let’s do it straight away’.”
With Cazorla out for a long while, Ramsey will get an extended run at his favored central midfield role and he’s relishing the opportunity,
“I’m still a bit short of fitness and it will take me a few games to get back into it but I’m pleased today with my overall contribution. I prefer to be back in the middle of the pitch, that is where I feel more comfortable and feel like I play my best football – to grab a goal and get an assist was good for me as well.
“I wish Santi a speedy recovery, and Francis as well, we have been hit hard by injuries this season but it gives players the opportunities to take.
“I have made no secret that I prefer to play in the middle and hopefully now I can stay there. My performance today was good and hopefully I can keep building on that now to play where I prefer to play.”
Competition for places is stiff at Arsenal and Ramsey knows that he needs to build on what was a good performance against Sunderland.
I wish Cazorla a speedy recovery but we will have to soldier on in his absence.
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