The Trials of Santi and Early City Thoughts

There ain’t gonna be no santi claws this year. Or at least that’s what the doctor feared for Señor Cazorla at one point with amputation considered.

The tribulations of the mercurial Spaniard are laid bare, along with the skin-grafted ankle, in Marca. The upshot of it is that Cazorla is expected to return after Christmas, in line with previous comments from Arsène. Is he the panacea, the cure to all our ills?

No, but a significant step in the right direction. Santi cannot shore up the defence, nor can he improve Granit Xhaka’s defensive performance. It’s a situation where not playing enhances your reputation.

On his next birthday, he will be 33 which is, by coincidence, the number of games he has played in the past 2½ seasons. Presumably his initial return will be in the Europa League side, assuming we qualify for the last sixteen. From there, the Premier League follows but like Jack Wilshere, a time on the bench will surely follow?

What impact this horrific spell of injuries has on his career will unfold over the course of the remainder of the season. Tomas Rosicky claimed that his time on the sidelines left his footballing age a couple of seasons behind his physical age; is the same true of Santi? Will we see 30-year-old wizard return or a shadow of that player?

Just seeing him return is enough for the moment.

Some Foxy Moves

Alexis Sanchez finds himself the focus of attention this weekend with Sunday’s trip to the Etihad a reminder of what might have been. Does the summer grate for him, knowing what might have been? It’s never discussed publicly; diplomacy is the order of the day when PR-speak kicks in. He wouldn’t be human without a wistful moment though.

Arsène claims the Chilean wasn’t close to leaving in the summer. Define the word ‘close’ is the answer. Were we close to signing David Silva in 2005 as is being claimed? Who knows and more to the point, does he even make the ‘nearly signed XI’? A squad player, I think. Certainly, the 19-year-old Silva is; the 31-year-old Silva walks into our starting line-up.

Wenger was right when he refused to doubt Alexis’ effort or motivation. That is one thing which is clear, despite the criticism he attracts for wearing his heart on his sleeve. How he fits into the City squad is interesting to see. Such is their array of attacking talent, it’s hard to believe his arrival isn’t the signal for a couple of departures.

Silva and Aguero are the most obvious two, if last summer’s gossip bears any semblance to the truth. Should Arsenal look at either? The former if Mesut Özil is also gone, possibly, but the latter? Is it a no-brainer? I think so but whether City would sell to us or if he would join is the issue. He and Lacazette as a strike force is certainly mouth-watering. Pie in the sky, but we can dream, can’t we?

Power to the People!

Which Alexis will we see tomorrow? Arsène will include him and I think Danny Welbeck’s injury saves Özil’s place. Otherwise a repeat of the performance at Chelsea is surely the order of the day. Can we go toe-to-toe? Last season’s FA Cup semi-final ought to inspire confidence but City’s form at the moment, is far better than April.

Ours is not dissimilar; winning but unconvincingly so. Do we have to win tomorrow? The answer is no; a point is a good result. In the grand scheme of things, it’s one more than we expect although fair play to the 65% of respondents to a survey on the club site who think we won’t lose. Mad, but keep the faith.

Finally, the Jimi Hendrix themed Jukebox Classics is on Dad’s Jukebox right now. Click here for an outstanding playlist.

’til Tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “The Trials of Santi and Early City Thoughts

  1. Good morning to you all, thanks for the post Yogi, not the most inspiring or cheerful but entirely in keeping with the cold, wet, grey November day here in Norfolk, meteorologicaly speaking the driest county in Brtain.

    As none of the players likely to start tomorrow were involved in the mid-week no score bore there should no physical fatigue issues.

    If we can replicate the Chelsea game performance I think we have the fire power in our front three, Sanchez, Lacazette and Ozil, to exploit the City defence and maybe nick a late goal and all three points.

  2. Bonjour YW from a grey Mediterranean. Arguero and Silva at AFC? Pigs might fly.

    The admiration and desire to play for Guardiola is evident for all to observe. I could not see Arguero or Silva ever wanting to swap the Ethiad for the Emirates.

    We are years behind in the machinations of ‘desire ‘ and creating a winning mentality.

  3. My apologies Yogi, after re-reading my last comment, it looks as if I was denigrating your remarkable writing skills. Not the case I assure you, it was the subject that I found depressing.

    Even more depressing was reading the Telegraph take on the Marca article and in particular the comments by the Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Robert Brown, in which he highlights the dangers of playing on while suffering pain even though initially not experiencing a falling of of performance. Something that applies to Santi in particular. The final paragraph are telling. “Could Santi Cazorla still play football again at an elite level? Anything thing is possible if you take one step at a time and the fact that he is running again is a really good sign.” “If you can get someone back to that level then there is the possibility that he can get back on the field, but tendons are notoriously slow healers. They take a long, even without surgery and complications”.

  4. Hello YW. I love your articles, really. I’d like you to rate our players after every match. I just want to see things from your point of view as regards that. Thanks!

  5. Not being a doomer but I can’t see us shutting them out tomorrow. Equally, I can see us getting a couple. Do we go for it and make it a slug fest? Dangerous game to get involved in, in my opinion

    As others have said, just hope we don’t get a real shoeing. Which is more than possible. Not just for the result itself but becuase it seems to take us five games to get over. There’s a few big games on the spin now and would hate for Spurs to turn up when we’re doing the annual punch drunk reeling around the ring

  6. While our senior English players aren’t getting called up, its good to see Nketiah, Nelson and Willock got called up to the U19’s, Dasilva(who is up for PL2 Player of the Month again) and Mavidid have gotten called up to thr U20 England side and finally GK Arthur Okonkwo and defender Vontae Daley-Campbell got called up to thr U17’s.

  7. Great post Yogi

    I suspect the best we can hope for from Santi is a role that is similar to Rosicky. I can’t see him being a regular starter. However Rosicky was good when he played in that role and if Santi can do that then he will be an excellent addition. Most people favor young untested prospects near the back end of the squad. For me, experienced players in that role are valuable. Players at the back end of the squad are by necessity only given occasional and unpredictable chances in high leverage minutes. Someone like Rosicky could come into the side after not having played for a few weeks and you could expect consistently high level performances with no concern that he might make a mistake. He does not need a run of games to get get in sync or get his timing back. Another example was Yossi Benayoun in 2012. No one on the blog was happy about Arsene taking him on loan during the end of the window trolley dash in 2011. However, Yossi played well every time he came on as a pinch hitter and when Arsene finally put him in the regular line up after it became obvious that Gervinho was a bust, Yossi scored a few critical goals in the end of season run of games that were a huge part of climbing back into the top 4 against the odds.

  8. Thanks Yogi,

    Poor Santi, total pro. Always smiling always positive. i’d be surprised to see him take the field again.

    As far as the trip to City. We take them on as we ain’t keeping them out on their present form. Poor Petr.

  9. In very limited minutes Yossi Benayoun actually outscored Gervinho in 2011/12 season. There is a strong arguement that Gervinho was the biggest bust of any signing during the Emirates era. Tommy Vermaelen is also in that conversation. There are a few strange signings like Park or Santos in 2011 but no one really expected much of them. However, we all thought Gervinho and Vermaelen would be regular first 11 starters for several years. The way Gervinho played was eye catching it looked like he had the skill to be a very good player but there was absolutely zero end product in an Arsenal shirt.

  10. Orson

    Fair enough. Absolute zero was a poor choice of words on my part. I think you knew what I meant but I should have learned my lesson by now.

  11. Who would you call arsenes biggest bust of a signing in the Emirates era? Can’t think of anyone that came with reasonably high expectations and yet gave us less then Gerv.

  12. Bill, I’ll take your Gervinho and raise you a Squillaci. Hopeless.

    When you recall that AW bought Gervinho instead of stretching to the extra money needed for Hazard it looks an even worse decision. There are bargains around of course, but usually as in all walks of life you get what you pay for (see also Sanogo 😂)

  13. Bill,

    Well I’m watching the Barbarians v New Zealand All Blacks, after twenty minutes it’s 10 – 5 to the Barbarians and it’s a good game.

  14. Andy

    How could I forget Squillaci because he is definitelyon the list. I had left off Sanogo because he came for free and he was only 20 and we had no real reason to expect anything from him. I picked Gerv becasue of huge difference between our expectations and what he actually brought to the team

  15. Benik Afobe does not even make their match day 18 for Bournemouth. He was arguably the most heavily hyped and prolific strikers that have come thru our ranks. I talk about our younger players a lot but I honestly don’t understand how someone can look that good with our youth set up but still not be good enough to play regularly for a team that is relegation fodder.

  16. NewCastle lost a goal to a wrong off sides call. Close off sides calls are at best a 50/50 coin flip. Off sides is one situation where they definelty should use video technology.

  17. I wonder if it has actually cost us more to buy some of the average players that have graced the team rather than stumping up the extra cash for a player of better quality.

  18. I forgot Francis Jeffers – the fox in the box ha ha!

    We had some solid rather than great players in the Invincibles team, but they all played as a team and worked hard for each other.

  19. Wavey

    Great teams are built around a few superstar players and then you fill the rest of the blanks with good complimentary players. You have to start by spending big on the really good players first and then you can find the lower priced support players who fit your system well. IMO

  20. Wavey

    We had 3-4 players on the invincibles who are arguably on the best PL 11 players in this century with Henry, Vierra, Ashley Cole and perhaps Sol Campbell. The key was Henry because he had the potential to lead the league in goals and assists at the same time and its much easier to add in the complimentary pieces when you start with a players like that.

  21. andy1886:
    Bill, I’ll take your Gervinho and raise you a Squillaci. Hopeless.

    When you recall that AW bought Gervinho instead of stretching to the extra money needed for Hazard it looks an even worse decision. There are bargains around of course, but usually as in all walks of life you get what you pay for (see also Sanogo 😂)

    I cannot say I have chapter and verse, Andy, and a lot of ‘truth’ can get mixed up in wishful thinking, but at the turn of the century, AW, had a lot of contacts in Africa, and one of the players he was ‘keeping and eye on’ was Drogba.

    Because the early Invincibles were going great guns, he decided to let Drogba mature and was also concerned with the potential problem of getting him a visa, so Drogba went at first to Le Mans (that sounds like a motor race, but I think it’s right) and then on to Guingamp and then onto Marseille.

    Wenger did say in an interview years ago that he was still interested in Drogba and was considering buying him. up stepped Chelsea with the ‘new money bags’ Abramovic, and Wenger left him to it, as Arsenal were never going to compete financially with Chavs.

    I put Drogba forward as one of the biggest ‘misses’ for AW – altho there have been many – including Hazard — but nothing has changed.

    Not sure if that is absolutely correct – but ………

  22. Bill:

    We had 3-4 players on the invincibles who are arguably on the best PL 11 players in this century with Henry, Vierra, Ashley Cole and perhaps Sol Campbell. The key was Henry because he had the potential to lead the league in goals and assists at the same time and its much easier to add in the complimentary pieces when you start with a players like that.

    You have missed out Dennis Bergkamp one of the greatest players ever. then Robert Pires, Gilberto, the Romford Pele and Kanu. I would not mind having players as good as these guys in the current squad.

    Just saying! 😀

  23. HenryB,

    Yes, I recall that Drogba was on the radar but to be fair we couldn’t really compete with Chelsea. As we all know Arsene has his own long, long list of players he nearly signed, Ibrahimovic was a big miss, we had the opportunity but Arsene asked him to try out on a trial and he flounced off.

    Wavey, I’m sure that our conservative approach in the transfer market has cost us financially, If we’d have paid say another £10m on Hazard rather than buying Gervinho we’d have been looking at a potential massive profit rather than a loss on the player. Similarly we could have bought made a large profit on Higuain or Suarez rather than seeing Ozil leave for nothing, we also let Mata slip through our fingers and Chelsea made a decent profit on him too.

  24. Henry

    Dennis Bergkamp is probably my all time favorite player but he was clearly on the downward side of his career by 2003/04 and not really a contender for the best PL 11 of this century. He only started about 1/2 of the games during the invincible year. Drogba on the other hand certainly is in the conversation for PL best since 2000. However to me, Henry was better because he was the not only the top scorer in the league but also the creator in chief in the final 1/3 for that team. Henry would move the ball forward at pace and he got the ball into the attacking 1/3 before the defense could organize which set up chances for himself but also for Pires and Freddie.

  25. I have a little of C in me and I am still a fan of Ox even though I know he never really came close to being as good as I thought he would. I honestly hope he does well, but I admit that part of that is selfish because I don’t like to admit I was wrong for so long about a player and never learned my lesson.

  26. If I am thinking with my brain I know that we had no choice and Arsene had to get rid of Ox and the transfer fee we got was great business and it would have been stupid to keep him. However, I still think we would be a better team if we had kept Ox and sold Bellerin to Barca when we had a chance. Ox brings a lot more to the table on the attacking end and before Ox decided to shut down, he was not really a significant downgrade on the defensive side of the pitch compared with Hector.

  27. Bill,

    Oxlade-Chamberlain appears to have started in central midfield this evening, against West Ham, even though Liverpuddle are two goals to the good the scoreline has little to do with our ex-player.

    It has to be said that the Hammers have been terrible in the first half, their only front runner has been Hernandez who has barely had a look in.

    Now Carroll has been introduced for the second half.

  28. Ox was basically invisible in the first half of their game today.

    Other then the Everton game the right side of our formation with Bellerin and Ozil has not been an effective attacking force. The left with Sanchez and Kolasinac has been much better. The right is also by far our weaker side on the defensive end of the pitch.

  29. Well would you Adam and Eve it, Hammers score to make it 1 – 2 and fifty seven seconds later Oxlade-Chamberlain scores his first goal for Liverpuddle.

  30. Ox scored but he was fortunate to get a rebound. He should have done better on the first shot when he had plenty of room to score at the far post. He is never going to be much of a goal scorer and I don’t think he is a good central midfielder either. The one thing he is really good at is running forward at pace with the ball at his feet. You have to put him in a position where he can do what he is good at and the RWB was perfect for him. Ox would have been better off moving to Chelsea where he could bring something different to Chelsea at RWB Liverpool has plenty of other players who have a somewhat similar skill set.

  31. I thought West Ham should have had a penalty when chicarito was pushed in the back while he tried to head the ball in the box. The TV guys have divided opinions. Its frustrating to me that such a critical call as a penalty is so subjective. That is why refs are criticized so much becasue there is almost always at least one decision like that in every game where there are divided opinions even with replays. Its impossible for the refs to be consistent when no one can agree about calls like that even after watching replays.

    The first chance that Ox had to score on the goal he scored was easier then the chance that Salah just scored at the far post.

  32. Orson Kaert,

    The reason I put yawn the other day to your comment is every other day you seem to feel the need to say AW can’t coach

    It is just nonsense and if you really feel Southgate and chums are superior then you are deluded.

    I hasten to add I enjoy your wit and other additions but just have to take issue with this constant refrain

    Funny how all the commentators were saying Klopp can’t coach defending and only attack.

    Maybe he needs a lesson too

  33. Wavey,


    I remember on the radio having to play him and against all expectations he scored winners to keep us progressing

    Wiki says Although fourth choice behind Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Nicolas Anelka, Wreh still played an important part in the Gunners’ Double-winning season of 1997–98, scoring in vital 1–0 Premier League wins against Wimbledon and Bolton Wanderers, and scoring the only goal of the Gunners’ FA Cup semi-final win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wreh went on to start in the 1998 FA Cup Final, and although he did not score, Arsenal beat Newcas

  34. Wavey,

    I always remember the Sun expose at the time
    Linzi dawn mcKensie or some such top heavy page 3 starlet said he liked her to sit on him and pull his ears
    Ha! Journalist ghost writing headlines if ever I heard it

  35. Bill,

    I agree with Ox at rwb but it seems he did not want to play in that position

    The Lwb gamble by AW was disastrous compromise suiting neither party

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