Arsene Wenger cheered by multi-faceted Santi Cazorla

Updated: 19 January 2014 06:56 IST

Arsene Wenger belives Santi Cazorla's two goals against Fulham despite an ankle injury earlier in the season, shows that the player is ready for a bigger role in Arsenal.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Santi Cazorla is back to his best after he scored his first Premier League goals in two months to keep his side top of the table.

Cazorla was sidelined for six weeks earlier in the season after suffering an ankle injury in the north London derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur on September 1.

But Wenger, the Arsenal manager, feels that the player's two-goal display in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Fulham at the Emirates Stadium provided confirmation that he is ready to play a key role in his side's title bid.

"He was out for a long time at the start of the season and had some injury problems. After that he had an ankle problem and only recently, since mid-December, has he come back to his level," said Wenger.

"When you play in your opponents' half, in the final third, he is one of the players who can create something special, either through his pass or through his finishing. He is two-footed, and that makes him very dangerous."

Cazorla linked superbly with Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud to put Arsenal ahead in the 57th minute before pouncing on a weak clearance five minutes later to rifle home the second.

Wenger added: "Wilshere is getting sharper now as well and he was at the start of many moves with little bursts to speed up our game."

The manager remained tight-lipped on suggestions he is eyeing a move for Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic in the January transfer window, although he conceded that he was hoping to strengthen his squad.

"We are looking at potential possibilities for us to get someone in, but we are not especially in for Vucinic," he told reporters.

"We are not on any special case. I would love to announce something that would excite you and me, but I don't have the possibility to do it."

With or without reinforcements, Wenger declared himself satisfied with his side's progress.

"Look, we have played 22 games and have 51 points," he said. "If you compare that to any other season you will see that it is one of the best, if not the best ever. So let's just continue.

"We have a good solidarity in the group and we rotate a bit and sometimes great players are on the bench. I am happy with the performance of my team because we have been remarkably consistent.

"Let's not forget that we had a difficult start and we have shown all kinds of ingredients technically, but as well mentally, to respond to what happened to us at the start of the season (when they lost 3-1 to Aston Villa).

"It was not easy and we played two more games in the Champions League as well."

Fulham dropped back to within one point and one place of the bottom three following this defeat, but manager Rene Meulensteen is convinced his side can stay up.

"I think we can survive, definitely," he said. "I think the spirit is good, we have got plenty of quality, and I believe the short time I have been in with these players, we are improving all the time, working hard.

"What we need is a break with a run of results, but that's not easy because of the opponents we are facing.

"I said this is going to be the most exciting league for many, many years because there are so many teams involved, top and bottom. One win can get you up the table, but not necessarily out of the problems.

"So in this league, until it is mathematically not important, you can't take anything for granted. You have to make sure every game, against every opponent, you need to play the best you can and pick up every point you can."

Topics : Football
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