Tinhy midfielder Santi Cazorla didn’t have a vintage performance against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, but he showed those little legs still have a lot of running in them.
Not particularly fast and surrounded by athletes like Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil in midfield, Cazorla may sometimes look like he doesn’t put the hard yards in.
That may be the case even more than usual when he’s up against Arturo Vidal, but the numbers say otherwise.
According to UEFA.com, the Spaniard covered more ground than any other player involved in Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich on Tuesday night. Cazorla covered 11487 metres during the game, rather incredibly. Only one Bayern player managed over 11km – Thiago – and he wasn’t within 400 metres of Santi’s total.
That’s not the most we’ve ever seen, not by any means, but it’s astounding. Cazorla’s stature is not great, and he is approaching his 31st birthday. Yet over 94 minutes, against arguably the best team in the world, he summoned the energy to run more than the more natural athletes he was surrounded by and covered an amazing 122 metres a minute.
Performance-wise it may not have been one of his finest evenings, but nobody can question Santi’s commitment. It was his lifted free-kick which tempted Manuel Neuer off his line and assisted Olivier Giroud’s goal.
So far in the Premier League this season, Santi has averaged over 83 passes per game. He only played 30 on Tuesday. This wasn’t his typical type of game, but he still managed to stamp some sort of influence on it and that was huge for us.