Ex-Arsenal Star Cazorla Hails Xavi Following Move To Qatar’s Al-Sadd

File photo of former Arsenal star, Santi Cazorla.

 

 

Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla said “Xavi was very important in my decision to come to Qatar” as he signed for the country’s highest-profile team Al-Sadd, where his fellow Spaniard is head coach.

“He was my reference when he was a player, and I’m sure he’ll be the same as a coach,” he said in a statement as he signed his new two-year contract late Thursday.

The midfielder bid farewell to Villarreal ahead of the team’s final game of La Liga against Eibar last month.

The 35-year-old enjoyed a brilliant third spell at Villarreal after two years of serious injuries.

Cazorla previously made 180 appearances over six years for Arsenal and has 81 caps for Spain. He also played for Malaga and Recreativo Huelva after first joining Villarreal as a teenager.

“We have to try to win everything, all the titles,” he said in the statement.

“Al-Sadd is the biggest club in Qatar and it’s a great honour to be here and to be part of this club.”

AFP

Cazorla Bids Farewell To Villarreal

Villarreal’s Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla (L) vies with Real Sociedad’s Spanish defender Zubimendi during the Spanish league football match Villarreal CF against Real Sociedad at La Ceramica stadium in Vila-real on July 13, 2020. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / AFP)

 

 

Santi Cazorla will leave Villarreal at the end of the season, the midfielder confirmed on Saturday.

Cazorla bid farewell ahead of the team’s final game of La Liga against Eibar on Sunday. He is expected to join Qatari side Al-Sadd, coached by Xavi Hernandez.

The 35-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant third spell at Villarreal after two years of horrendous injuries.

Cazorla previously made 180 appearances over six years for Arsenal and has 81 caps for Spain. He has also played for Malaga and Recreativo Huelva after first joining Villarreal as a teenager.

“Villarreal has given me everything,” Cazorla said in a video posted by the club on social media. “At 18 they took a punt on a boy from Oviedo who knew nobody.”

Cazorla added: “Hopefully, as it was when I left before, it will be more of a see you later.”

Cazorla’s career looked to be over when an achilles tendon injury threatened to prevent him from walking again, let alone returning to football.

He was operated on eight times in almost two years and at one stage amputation was considered after his foot became seriously infected.

But Cazorla has enjoyed an incredible resurgence at Villarreal, his 11 goals and eight assists this season helping the club qualify for the Europa League.

His superb, cushioned touch for Gerard Moreno to volley in against Valencia last month will go down as one of the moments of the season.

The midfielder would likely have been included in Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for Euro 2020 this summer. He won the European Championships with Spain in both 2008 and 2012.

 

 

-AFP

Cazorla Suffers Fresh Injury Setback

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has been forced to have another operation on his Achilles, prolonging his long injury nightmare and delaying his return to action.

Cazorla has not played for the Gunners since October last year and said earlier this month he almost lost his foot due to a serious infection.

Arsene Wenger had expressed hope Cazorla might recover in time to feature again in January but the 32-year-old has suffered a fresh setback.

“Due to some discomfort in the tendon the last few days, I have had to undergo surgery,” Cazorla tweeted on Wednesday.

“It is delaying the date of my return to the field. I maintain my hope and motivation to enjoy my great passion, football.”

The message was accompanied by a picture of Cazorla making a gesture of prayer while in action for Arsenal.

Wenger has admitted Cazorla’s injury is the worst he has ever known, with the player’s foot requiring a series of operations, as well as a skin graft from his arm.

Cazorla joined Arsenal in 2012 from Malaga and has made more than 150 appearances for the club.

AFP

Cazorla Injury The Worst I’ve Seen, Says Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has described Santi Cazorla’s ankle injury as the worst he has seen but remains hopeful the Spanish midfielder will return to action in January.

Cazorla, 32, has not played for Arsenal since October 2016 and has undergone eight operations to address a longstanding Achilles problem.

He revealed earlier this month a gangrene infection had “eaten” eight centimetres of his Achilles tendon and said he had been told by doctors he should be “satisfied” just to be able to walk again.

“It is the worst injury (I have known),” Wenger told his weekly press conference at Arsenal’s London Colney training centre on Thursday.

“It started with a pain in the Achilles and it has gone from worse to worse.

“I know how much Santi loves to play football and loves to be out there every day and I feel very sorry for what happened to him, because it is unbelievable.

“I saw him one month ago, he was here, and I told him to prepare as well as he can. He has competent medical people around him and he tries to practise.

“I have not spoken to him recently, but I hope he comes back. I left him out of the squad, hoping he would be available in January.”

Read Also: Mourinho Hits Out At England Over Jones Injury

When it was suggested Cazorla might never be able to play again, Wenger replied: “Let’s not talk about that, but I hope you are wrong.”

Spain international Cazorla, who joined Arsenal from Malaga in 2012, recently told Spanish newspaper Marca he aims to be back playing in January.

AFP

Arsenal Lose Bellerin Ahead Of Man-United Derby

Arsenal Loses Bellerin Ahead of Man-U DerbyArsenal must do without Hector Bellerin for the next four weeks, Arsene Wenger, the manager, has confirmed.

Ahead of the trip to Manchester United on Saturday, Wenger confirmed the absence through an ankle injury picked up in the North London derby.

“Hector is out for about four weeks,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “He was injured in the last 10 seconds against Spurs.”

Wenger also confirmed that Santi Cazorla will remain out indefinitely through injury and gave an update on Alexis Sanchez, who played and scored for Chile against Uruguay in midweek despite having been an injury doubt before the match.

Alexis is due to land in London on Thursday afternoon, and the boss has a big decision to make.

“I haven’t heard a lot (about his fitness) because we were in doubt 24 hours before the game against Uruguay,” said Wenger.

“We didn’t know if he’d play or not. In the end they decided to play him. He texted us to tell us he’s in good shape after the game. He came off after 84 minutes and now we have to wait. I see him tomorrow (Friday) morning and then I will see if he can be involved in the squad or not.

“What I will consider is the risk of injury because he played while recovering from a hamstring injury. I’ll consider the way he feels as well. On that front you depend on the honesty of the player, how they feel and how they recover.”

Giroud, Ramsey Return For Arsenal’s Trip To Sunderland

Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, ArsenalOlivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey will be available for Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

Giroud has finally overcome a long-term toe problem, while midfielder Ramsey will feature for the first time since the opening day of the season after hamstring trouble.

Manager, Arsene Wenger, however, prefers to be cautious.

“They are available for selection. I have to be a bit cautious, especially with Aaron Ramsey, because he has not played at all yet. He has only had one week with the team so I will be a bit cautious with him.”

Nacho Monreal, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott are all in a race to be fit while Lucas Perez is out for eight weeks after damaging ankle ligaments in the win over Reading in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

The manager described the Perez injury as very frustrating, especially because it came just after the player had worked very hard to start getting games.

“Of course he is absolutely gutted, because it’s an injury coming from nowhere, and a stupid one, because it was a deliberate kick. It’s a similar tackle to (the one from) Xhaka (against Swansea), but there was no red card.

“But the red card would not have helped Lucas. What is most important is that he’s out for six to eight weeks,” Wenger said.

Arsenal Stars Vow To Regroup And Recover

ArsenalArsenal’s senior players, Petr Cech and Mathieu Flamini have been rallying their colleagues to regroup and recover quickly after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.

Olivier Giroud put the Gunners in front just before the half-hour mark, before the hosts hit back with two goals in the space of five minutes before half time.

Santi Cazorla then missed a late penalty as Arsène Wenger’s side slipped to their first Premier League defeat in seven games.

“The penalty, it can happen and Santi falling… there is nothing you can do,” Flamini told Arsenal Player. “We tried and tried and tried until the last minute but we can’t give any excuses – today we lost the three points.

“It’s a shame because we started the game well, we went 1-0 up and then after they scored [twice] before half time it became more difficult for us.

“We tried to push on in the second half, we had some opportunities but of course it is disappointing because we didn’t get any points.

“Sometimes it happens and now it is important to recover and focus on the next game.”

Goalkeeper, Petr Cech believes Arsenal were the better team but it was just one of those days for them.

“I think we don’t want to take credit from West Brom but across the 90 minutes we were the better side. We had chances and a lot of opportunities and we were unlucky as we scored an own goal. Apart of that, we were on top of them and looked like the side that was going to win the game, even in the second half.

“I thought when we had the penalty that we would still have a chance to search for the third goal but it was one of those games where it was not going our way. But I like our reaction and although everything went against us a bit, we kept going until the last minute and were still creating opportunities. We have to regroup and continue working,” he said.

Arsenal, Manchester City Suffer Costly Defeats

ArsenalArsenal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as West Brom came from behind to win 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud headed home Mesut Ozil’s free kick to put the Gunners in front, but a James Morrison volley and a Mikel Arteta own goal turned things around in a five-minute spell before the break.

Late in the game, Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Sanchez was felled in the box but Cazorla slipped as he took it and the ball sailed over the bar.

Arsenal kept knocking for the remainder of the game but failed to salvage the situation.

Wenger told the media after the match, “It was a bad afternoon, we missed a penalty, we gave a goal away on set-piece, that is perfect to make your afternoon a nightmare and we missed open goal chances.

“I believe that West Brom were strong in the fight and they had 100% commitment as well and you have to give them credit for that. But overall I felt it dropped a huge blow when we scored and we just had to make sure they didn’t come back with an easy goal and that is where we were disappointed today.

“But I cannot be mad at the team because they gave what they could until the last minute but we lost a bit of focus at 1-0 – at 35 minutes we were 1-0 up and then at 45 we were 2-1 down. Our defending on that level was very, very poor.”

The result means Arsenal have not yet won in November in all competitions, as they turn their attention to the Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb in midweek.

In another shocking result on the day, Liverpool trashed Manchester City 4-1 at the Etihad, helping Leicester City move top of the table with a 3-0 win over Newcastle United.

Meanwhile, Diego Costa ended a three-match losing streak for Chelsea as the champions picked up a 1-0 victory over Norwich City.

The striker halted his own barren run of 603 minutes without a goal in all competitions to lift Chelsea spirits at Stamford Bridge.

EPL Results

Watford 1 – 2 Manchester United
Chelsea 1 – 0 Norwich City
Everton 4 – 0 Aston Villa
Newcastle United 0 – 3 Leicester City
Southampton 0 – 1 Stoke City
Swansea City 2 – 2 AFC Bournemouth
West Bromwich Albion 2 – 1 Arsenal
Manchester City 1 – 4 Liverpool

Arsenal Win 2015 Community Shield At Wembley

Arsenal-Wins-Community-ShieldArsenal on Sunday defeated Chelsea 1-0 to retain the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium.

At the end of the regulation time, Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, had a reason to celebrate against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, having failed to win in any of his previous 13 attempts.

In February 2014 the Chelsea boss called Wenger a “specialist in failure”, and then in October the Gunners boss shoved his rival during a heated touchline quarrel.

Alex Oxlade-chamberlain scored the winner with a powerful drive into the top corner with his weaker left foot.

The Gunners named goalkeeper Petr Cech in their starting line-up following his summer move across London while Theo Walcott, who has just signed a lucrative new deal, led the arsenal attack.

It is the first time that Arsenal is beating a Mourinho-led Chelsea side since 2011.

“Will Not Be A Friendly”

Before the match, Arsene Wenger said that the Community Shield against Chelsea “will not be a friendly”.

According to arsenal.com, Wenger admited that a victory in the match, which would be his first against Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho, is capable of shaping his team’s confidence for the 2015/16 season.

Having enjoyed a perfect pre-season performance, Wenger hopes his side would maintain their momentum against the champions, but warned against reading too much into the result.

“We have to accept that every game is decided and judged as definite,” he said. “But you know that in real life it is not like that. The tribunal is out there and will draw conclusions from Sunday.

“But no matter, positive or negative (result), we have to continue our way and focus on ourselves.

“It’s a game that is important but it is still preparation. We want to win it and overall it can just give us that little bit more confidence before we go into the season.

“You know, it will not be a friendly as it is like that and it is good like that.”

The Gunners go into the match on a run of four successive victories at Wembley, and having scored 14 goals during pre-season.

The morale of the team would have been boosted by the duo of Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott, who have both agreed contract extensions with the English giants.

The victory will be a boosted for the team, as they prepare for the commencement of a new Premiership season.

Cazorla And Walcott Sign New Arsenal Deals

WalcottSanti Cazorla and Theo Walcott have both agreed contract extensions with English giants, Arsenal FC.

Walcott, 26, is Arsenal’s longest-serving current player, making his 300th appearance for the club last season. He has scored a total of 76 goals since joining the Gunners in 2006.

Theo finished the 2014/15 season in outstanding form. The England forward netted a first-half hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion in the final Premier League match of the season, before scoring the opener in the FA Cup final victory over Aston Villa the following week.

Cazorla, 30, enjoyed another excellent year for Arsenal in 2014/15 season.

Playing in a deeper midfield role for the Gunners, he made 53 appearances in all – more than any other player.

In total, the gifted Spaniard has featured 148 times for Arsenal since his arrival from Malaga in 2012. His tally of 27 goals includes many important strikes, most notably in the 2014 FA Cup Final victory over Hull City.

An experienced international, Cazorla has won more than 70 caps for his country and was part of the squad that won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

Arsenal Manager, Arsène Wenger said, “We’re delighted to have extended the contracts of Santi and Theo. Both are top quality players who are hugely important and influential to our squad.

“As well as their huge contributions on the pitch, they both have a great deal of experience and are very popular off the pitch. We’re very pleased with them both signing contract extensions, as it provides our squad with further stability of quality.”

 

Culled from arsenal.com

Emirates Cup: Arsenal Crush Lyon 6-0

ArsenalArsenal delivered a dazzling attacking performance against Lyon to claim a comfortable victory in their opening match of the Emirates Cup.

The Gunners took control just before the half-hour mark during a breathless nine-minute spell in which they scored four times.

It started with Olivier Giroud heading home Mesut Ozil’s free kick and moments later they doubled their lead as the rampaging Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain raced through to slot beyond Lyon goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes.

Less than 100 seconds later and they had a third as teenage forward Alex Iwobi capped off a lively first-half showing by firing into the top corner after good work from Aaron Ramsey.

The Welshman then added a fourth in the 38th minute when he raced on to Ozil’s pass to poke the ball in at the near post.

It would take some going to match their first-half display after the restart, but the Gunners were determined to put on a show and they claimed their fifth just after the hour when Ozil drilled in a powerful shot.

Santi Cazorla added a sixth late on from a free kick, with the Gunners’ imperious display offering genuine cause for optimism ahead of the coming campaign.

Arsene Wenger told the media after the game, “It was a good, dynamic, collective performance where we could see that many players scored goals. Overall it’s in the continuity of what we did at the end of last season, and we’ve taken that form into pre-season as well.

“There’s a good team dynamic and we’ve shown again that we can score goals, which is what everybody expects from us.

The manager, however, called for caution on making a statement for the Premier League title

“Let’s be cautious on that front. We finished third in the league and won the FA Cup last season. That’s a good basis, of course. Our target is to do better.

“We know that we will put all of our effort in and that it will be very difficult because it will be a big challenge. We just want to focus on our quality.

“Top-level sport requires you to get the best out of your potential, so to achieve that it’s important that we focus on our own performance and do not worry too much about the others. We just have to focus on being as good as we can be.”

Arsenal face Bundesliga runners-up, Wolfsburg on Sunday in their next match of the Emirates Cup.

Arsenal Beat Everton 3-1 To Secure Asia Trophy

Arsenal Beat Everton 3-1 To Secure Asia TrophyEngland giant, Arsenal FC, have secured a 3-1 victory on Saturday over city rival, Everton, in the Asia Trophy final held in Singapore.

Theo Walcott 22′, Santi Cazorla 58′ and Mesut Ozil 62′ goals set a clear pace for Coach Arsene Wenger’s side, but Ross Barkley scored a consolation for Everton in the 75′.

Wenger said on Arsenal’s website that he was pleased with the team’s performance because the focus in pre-season was to recover the quality of their game.

The Arsenal manager expressed joy that the FA CUP winners had been playing in a very convincing way and with good team play for long periods.

He added that they shared the same vision on the pitch of the game they want to play, stressing that it was positive.

Arsenal had sealed their position in the final after beating a Singapore Select XI 4-0, while Everton got a victory against Stoke City after a penalty shootout.

The Singapore XI lost 0-2 to Stoke in the third-place play-off earlier on Saturday, after goals from Steve Sidwell and Marko Arnautovic sealed the game.