I had a view to doing this blog subject a week, or so ago. Apart from the reason I was preoccupied, the subject matter SANTI CARZOLA of Arsenal was not at his best in the defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates that weekend. Well, after the latest round of league games, with Arsenal's 3-1 win at West Ham, this subject appears at a more auspicious moment.
The premiership has witnessed some amazing attacking midfield talent - Gianfranco Zola; Paul Gascoigne; Gus Poyet; Paul Scholes; Frank Lampard; Steven Gerrard; Cesc Fabregas; Luca Modric e.t.c but none has possessed the dimension of technical marvel I have seen from Arsenal's 27 year old acquisition, Santi Carzola. This lad is the real deal in the middle of the park - the best at the moment, one of the best i've seen, and mark my words - shall go on to be one of the best attacking midfield players we would have seen in the premier league. If you doubt me, tell me the best you have seen, then re-watch Arsenal's number 19 in action this season against Sunderland, Stoke, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester City, Chelsea, and West Ham. I must confess I was one of those who scoffed when it was reported Arsenal's Manager Arsene Wenger was tracking the five feet six inch Spanish International. Even when the deal was done with His Spanish Club Malaga at £16.5 million, I still had my doubts. I thought if he were that good, he would be in Spain's starting XI. How silly !!
CESC FABRIGAS : Would always be in the folklore as one of Arsenal's best ever midfielders. I still call him the best 17 year old midfielder i've ever seen play. I will never forget how accomplished he looked alongside Patrick Veira in Arsenal's midfield in the 2004/05 season, playing like he had been in the team all his life, and it was only his first full season. What he went on to achieve in terms of playing standards in midfield remains a reference point for many midfielders in the country today. When Arsenal sold him to Barcelona for £35 million two seasons ago, I for one never expected to see another player as good, replace him, let alone put in performances that have arguably redefined the standards to that of the former Arsenal captain. Personally, it's confounding that Cesc Fabregas gets into the Spanish national team ahead of Santi Carzola. But that's another matter.
ABILITY : It was a harbinger of things to come when Santi Carzola picked up Man of the match award on his premiership debut against Sunderland in August. Arsene Wenger's theory has always been that it takes players from other countries six months to get used to the ambience of the premier league. Not if you are as good as Santi carzola is.... He has the A-Z of midfield tools, and more... The first thing i noticed is how nimble he is, and his incredible ability to use right and left foot in equal measure. His technical dexterity is awesome. He swivels majestically, his ambidexterity and nimbleness offers him a huge advantage in the tight kitchen space of midfield; Plus his ball skills are voluptuous and teasing. His abilities is not only a cornucopia of midfield artistry, he is a pretty good grafter too, and I am sure the statistics on his tracking back and tackling is impressive. When Arsenal took on Liverpool at Anfield a month ago, for over half an hour, they toiled in midfield till Carzola began to sprinkle magic dust, then Diaby and Arteta calcified to create the midfield platform that was the plank to victory. At West Ham last weekend, he produced a master class performance, energizing his team, and pulverizing the opposition with his vision, appetite, passing, skill, technique, work rate, and endless creation of multiple attack angles for his team. He got stronger the longer the game went. My favourite was his move in front of the West Ham box, when he made a sharp cut-in with his left foot, and almost instantly played a crisp, diagonal, penetrating right footed pass into the box for his team mate Olivier Giroud, who made a bending run unto it. Ex-England manager Kevin Keegan noted " only great players make passes like that"........ What I also observed from his display last weekend is that this player possess a sharp edge to his game, and is going to gut a lot of teams in the premiership this season. He may be a smiling face, but he carries a ruthless streak at executing his skills. His goals against Liverpool and West Ham attest to a player who knows when and how to pull the trigger. The build-up to his goal against Liverpool was disguised, the finish was devastating. Against West ham, he had been threatening to unleash a left foot hammer on more than a couple of occasions, but opted for a pass each time ; when he did decide to shoot - it was vicious, it was curling, and it was at velocity.
STANDARDS : There is a new sheriff in the Gunners engine room, and his name is Santi Carzola. This lad has upped the standards in Arsenal's midfield. He has been the inspiration for the rest. The game against Chelsea in which Arsenal lost because the opposition pressed and outflanked them was Carzola's poorest game so far. Then again, his team was nullified almost in it's entirety. He clearly struggled. However, it is evident Arsenal are better than ever in Midfield, and the standards are at an increased level, than even the season Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshire ruled. That is in no small part to Santi Carlola. It is early season yet, and players lose form, or get injured; more over the opposition are soon going to take note, and close him down. If he maintains these standards, he would go on to be something of the extra ordinary. To me, he is the best midfielder I have seen this season so far ; when he teams up with Jack Wilshire, Arsenal will have one of the best midfields in European football. Name them : Iniesta, Xavi, Pirlo, Modric, Scholes.... this lad is as good if not better. He is numero uno amongst midfielders of an attacking genre in the premier league right now. I doff my Hat.
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