Santi Cazorla leads La Liga midfielders in chances created per 90 minutes, minimum 5 appearances, as he continues his return to top-level football after leaving Arsenal.
Cazorla’s key pass total per 90 minutes is higher than any other midfielder in La Liga, with only Barcelona forward Lionel Messi creating more than him.
The Spanish league is full of creative players, with the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Coutinho and Isco placing not far behind the 34-year-old. However, none of them can quite match Cazorla’s numbers, and he’s certainly showing he’s not finished yet.
La Liga midfielders passing variety (Upto GW 16 2018/19) pic.twitter.com/52DRPYUKw9
— Blindside Run (@blindside_run) December 19, 2018
Of course, this is going to lead to some people asking if it was the right decision to let the midfielder go. Arsenal aren’t exactly creating chances for fun lately, and they lack a central midfielder playing direct forward passes whenever Granit Xhaka is benched or moved into the defence.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Villarreal are much more able to rehabilitate Cazorla slowly and carefully though. The Spaniard has only played 794 of his club’s 1,440 minutes so far in the league, completing 90 minutes on just three occasions.
With Arsenal, there would be no time to ease back in against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in the opening week of the season. It’s very possible Santi would’ve just ended up suffering injury setbacks with the Gunners.
If Cazorla’s happy and playing football again, we should take that as the positive it is. At 34, it was time for Arsenal to start looking at long-term replacements anyway.