Santi Cazorla put in one of his best performances of the season in Tuesday night’s 4-4 draw with Barcelona, creating a huge eight chances against the La Liga leaders.
Cazorla joined Villarreal from Arsenal last summer, amid questions over whether he’d ever be able to return to playing at the top level again. If there were still any doubts about that before Tuesday night, the midfielder put them to bed with an inspired display against Barcelona.
The former Gunner completed 89% of his passes, including six out of seven long balls and five out of six crosses. He made two interceptions and one tackle, but he was most impressive creatively, making eight chances and providing one assist. That tally of eight key passes was the joint-most of any player in a La Liga match this season.
In the end, it wasn’t enough to get the win Villarreal so desperately needed. The Yellow Submarine had a player sent off at 4-2 with five minutes to go, and Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez levelled the scores in injury time.
Unfortunately, that leaves Cazorla’s side just two points clear of the relegation zone having played an extra game.
Of course, the impressive display by the midfielder has left some Arsenal fans wondering why the club didn’t keep him on for another year. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Unai Emery wouldn’t have been able to give Cazorla as many chances to adapt and get back to his best as Villarreal have.
Besides, Cazorla is out of contract this summer, so there’s nothing to stop Arsenal bringing him back.