Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Cazorla returns as under-21s beat Blackburn 2-1

Santi Cazorla made his return to action this evening for the Arsenal under-21s as they won 2-1 against Blackburn Rovers in their Division Two semi-final play-off at the Emirates.

The Spanish international, who was on the bench against Norwich on Saturday, completed 62 minutes; his first competitive action since injuring knee ligaments against the Canaries at the Delia Arena in November.

The 31-year-old underwent surgery in December and looked set for a return earlier this year only for an Achilles injury to sideline him for a further two months.

While the midfielder only has two first team games left to make an impression on Spain coach Vicente del Bosque his run out tonight should increase his chance of making Spain’s EURO 2016 squad.

Cazorla was joined on the Emirates turf by Tomas Rosicky who will be hoping to make a farewell appearance on the final day of the season against Aston Villa. It had been feared he’d played his last game for the club after a thigh injury in January, but he’s come back ahead of schedule and depending on what happens this weekend against Man City he could well be involved on the last day of this campaign.

Calum Chambers and Serge Gnabry also started the game for Steve Gatting’s side who were watched from the stands by Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis. Chris Willock’s scored both goals on the night to put the Gunners into next week’s final against Aston Villa.

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I do wonder if we would have been in with a real chance for the title if we had a fit Cazorla….. or would the same story have unfolded in any case. Just like it usually does for Arsenal lately.


I think we’d have done it with him in the team… We are relatively stable now with elneny but think of all the points we dropped with the coqram… Losing santi cost us 10 points if you ask me…


Or even worse, the horror that was the flamRam…
(Thank you ma’am ?)

David S.

Get your coat!

Fosk Goooc

Because we dropped fewer points per game with Flamini & Ramsey as our central midfield pairing than any other central midfield partnership (including Coqzorla)? Although I have to admit the margins are narrow and can be twisted, but on any genuine basis Flamini & Ramsey was our best combo. The problem, at least since mid-January, has been upfront and I’m not sure Santi would have been able to change that much.


thanks for pointing this out: our problem wasn’t in midfield – a current misconception that everyone has seemed to latch onto – it was our misfiring strikers. Ozil created the chances and Ramsey and Flam actually kept us in the race for several games after Carzola and Coq were out, it was only after our strikers failed to put games to bed that we trailed off. Blaming our midfield is ignoring the facts and choosing what one wants to believe.

Reabetswe Mogoswane

You have to be smoking some nice pot to really believe that. The same kind Arsene has been smoking lately.

Bould's Eyeliner

Agreed. Also we were still in contention for the title well into March. It’s what happened during March-April where each game we said ‘surely we’ll win this time’ where everything went wrong. Truly a striker problem, but more so because I feel that without an established CF in form, our midfield is lacking incisiveness in the final third. We need someone to attack viciously so as to make space for them. Cazorla would have definitely helped in shaping the distribution leading to there, so yes, I believe he would have made a significant impact. Also his ability with long passes… Read more »

Fosk Goooc

In reply to Reabetswe Mogoswane

It isn’t an opinion. It’s based on our actual results in real life.

I could perhaps have written the sentence: “F & R was our best combo, although only marginally, on a points per game basis” but I thought that was obvious from the rest of the paragraph since that is how I had started it.

Fosk Goooc

How can anybody vote this reply down? It is in every sense accurate.


I think our season would have ended in the same way. I don’t thing Wenger inspires enough drive and desire from the players; it’s a mentality problem. At this level, the manager must have the ability to squeeze every ounce of fight and drove out of his team. Sadly; Wenger is not able to do that anymore.




How many times are we bringing up the “what if” arguments though? What could and should have been done is pretty obvious. Our midfield base beyond Cazorla and Coquelin is pretty average (from the start of the season until January when Elneny came in and steadied the ship), our strikers can be better, squad rotation can be better (playing players on form, and actually rotating players instead of waiting on them to get injured). Sure the point stands if we had Cazorla we would be better off, but our injury record actually is much better nowadays. Next season we really… Read more »

Fosk Goooc

When Elneny was signed and came into “steady the ship” we were actually top of the League. Literally. That was after Cazorla and Coquelin had been out for almost 2 months.


Of course we all know the lack or goals since Christmas is what lost us the league. Don’t be an idiot and pin everything on one single player, who plays in a more reserved central midfield role. Elneny brings better balance with any of Ramsey or Coquelin, can’t really argue likewise for Ramsey or Coq. In fact I’m very much interested to see what Elneny and Cazorla can do together.

Fosk Goooc

Actually my comment was about the squad depth that had carried us through after Coqzorla were both out. As somebody memorably put it in another Comments section: In mid-January Arsenal had somehow found themselves top of the league with a central midfield of Ramsey and Flamini. It was that that I was referencing. It would be very harsh to put blame on Elneny. Especially as he has not played in a lot of games. So I wasn’t. Maybe we just meant different things by steadying the ship. As you and others say it has been what has been going on… Read more »


his absence definitely affected the team play. wenger could not manage a suitable replacement resulting in no momentum ever this season.

Jay Song

If we had Santi available I think we would at least be challenging for the title.
Really big big miss. Such a shame he was injured for the long time.


Division 2 FFS!

Petit's Handbag

Any thoughts on Chambers? Any chance of a starting position next season?
Started so well last season, veered off but I still feel he has a lot to offer. I cannot see Gabriel or Per being first choice next season so I think it may be a big one for Chambers. He had a great game against Leicester in our 2-1 win but strangely wasn’t given a chance after.


I hope we strengthen, but would consider giving him a chance over Gabe…

But I hope we strengthen

So no doubt we will get 40 appearances from him 🙂


I would welcome chambers being given a chance at centre half, but at the moment our attack is unfortunately not good enough to repair a potential mistake on his side. He seems like such a nice dude as well, even Costa would feel bad trying to wind him up!


Congratulations indeed to Ranieri. Finally success! And Spend some effing money! 22m for your squad? You’re having a laugh. Close to bottom last season, one would say they had no chance with no “World Class” players, a manager who has a reputation for tinkering and with the Special One annointed once again by the media (and later City who spent 221m quid to show ‘ambition’) Well done. Maybe its not all about spending then? 😉 Congrats to Atheletico as well. Same formula. Resolute defense. Little possession, efficiency on the break. Two key players when attacking in Torres and Greizzman much… Read more »


Do you think the reason for our mediocre performance this season may be down to the manager?

After all, he buys the players, he trains the players, he picks the team, he tells them the tactics and he motivates them.

Or maybe it’s just the fans fault?


Shush!! Don’t tell him that. Don’t also mention that both teams are actually much more balanced than ours.

Crash Fistfight

I agree with your point about it not being necessary to spend extortionate amounts on players to win. What’s needed is organisation, determination and a little luck.

What I find confusing about your posts is that while saying this, you wax lyrical about certain players and set out the fantastic job the manager has been doing (promoting Bellerin, etc.).

So what is it? Either star players are needed because the great job the manager is doing is being let down by the playing staff or a better manager could achieve more with the players we have.


Just in time to seal St Totteringhams day! Still have some hope for this season….


Its all about partnerships. Call Wenger stubborn but some segments of our fan base refuse to shed their bias against certain players and erroneously consider them at fault for the entire season even when facts stare them in the face. Well, I’ve been known to be stubborn too.;) There was no midfield soft centre contrary to media believe. Arteta and Flamini were largely able to shunt the dangers wide but two seasons ago and indeed last season, we leaked plenty of goals from crosses. We’ve been better since but still prone to lapse. And as can be seen by the… Read more »

St. Cathorla

Is there a site where I can find CliffsNotes for your comments, mate?




Zelalem and industrious in the same sentence??? Wow!! Even said he’d be a Coq backup too…wooow.


Having Cazorla back will be great but what we’ve seen this season is that we desperately need a clinical forward.

What we really need is someone like Griezmann. I am not saying we should sign him – although I would if we could – but that is what we need. Someone who has ice in his veins and who doesn’t need a second chance to score.

Although our midfield hasn’t been great, it isn’t why we collapsed this season. That is down to a lack of goals at crucial times.


well said.

Arteta Fan

I have always been a Flamini fan and feel he gets a bad rap. Interesting that Cesc just named him as the best midfielder he ever played with. I will take the opinion of someone who actually plays the game over the hyperbolic Flamphobes any day. Unfortunately just as related to our team and manager the mob now runs the show and exerts far too much influence over the direction and confidence of all players. For those who say the players need to toughen up I say….let’s have a mob outside your place of business moaning, booing and telling you… Read more »


“all during the influx of money and influence changing the league forever…” What year is it?? That argument is valid 2 seasons ago and everything prior. Move on mate.


Quit living on past glories.


Well said.

Arteta Fan

Move on to the coming changes. China and Middle East will be buying more high profile players while mid,lower clubs get more tv money to keep their best. Not only did that influx of money power Chelsea and Man City up while holding us back…That same money just bought a team from fighting to escape being dropped to winning the league in one year. We will be having an even harder time moving forward… Keep up mate 🙂

Stringer Bell

Is that as hard as everyone else


2016/2017 – maybe Wengers last season 2017/2018 – new manager comes in Assuming that this is how things will go, I believe it will take at the very least another 3 seasons after this one before we can really challenge for the title. That is if the replacement manager is actually good enough. 15 years without the league would put us dangerously close to Liverpool territory. That’s why I’d rather we drop the sentimentality, let Wenger go at the end of this season bring in someone else and go all in for the title. The CL will have to remain… Read more »

Naija Gunner

Finally a real footballer, welcome back Santi


That is quite a loose fitting shirt. Do the Under 21s not wear the same figure hugging kit as the first team?


Do we remember the ‘how embarrassingly over rich’ we were in midfield just before Christmas. Our failure to win the league is down to four people, Giroud, Walcott, Sanchez and Welbeck. Truth is any one of them in the last two months could have stayed uninjured, stepped up, seized the initiative and slotted a large number of goals from the assists our midfield has created. The fact that none of them did is unfortunate. We would have won the league. Non of them are vindictive guys, its just unfortunate. also interesting we are the only team against whom the Champions… Read more »


1. Arsenal players lacks the fighting spirit
2. Arsene Wenger will not play to his players’ strengths
3. Teams know how to mark out our strikers
4. Aside Wild here (who was injured), no Arsenal player can dribble two or three opponents while running into the opponent’s 18 yard box

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