Arsene Wenger’s plans to steer Arsenal to their first Premier League crown for 13 years have suffered a hammer blow with the news of the severity of Santi Cazorla’s injury. Given Cazorla’s importance to the team netbet have slashed their odds on Arsenal winning the title this year.
The Gunners hierarchy have revealed that the Spanish playmaker will have an operation in Sweden on his ankle on Monday and that as a result he will be sidelined in recovery for at least three months.
But the club’s estimates for the duration of players missing through injuries has often been woefully inaccurate (take Danny Welbeck as just one example).
And therefore it is this contributor’s contention that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Cazorla is out of action for the remainder of the season.
Even if he comes back according to schedule, getting fit enough to make a telling contribution as the campaign comes to a conclusion is a big ask, even of such an extraordinarily talented player.
Cazorla will be sorely missed in the heart of the Arsenal midfield. His willingness to get on the ball and his ability to act as the glue to the Gunners’ flowing football suited the style of play imposed on Wenger’s charges.
With an abundance of midfielders who are exemplary at playing the game with more industrious effort as opposed to impactful intricacy, Wenger may even look to call for the return of Jack Wilshere, currently plying his trade on loan at Premier League outfit AFC Bournemouth.
A statement from the powers that be at the Emirates Stadium read:
“Santi Cazorla is travelling to Sweden early next week to undergo surgery to his right ankle.”
“The club’s medical team and specialists have decided that surgery is required to the plantaris tendon in the Spain international’s right foot.”
“The problem has not progressed during a rehabilitation programme following the injury during the home match with Ludogorets on October 19.”
“We expect Santi’s full recovery to take approximately three months. Everyone at the club will be working hard with Santi to make sure he’s back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen who makes the line-up when the Gunners are next in action. They travel the short distance from north London to take on Slaven Bilic in a top flight encounter at the Hammers’ new home for a tea-time kick-off on Saturday.
Then they are in Champions League action on Tuesday of next week when Wenger’s men travel to Switzerland to take on FC Basel, still in with a very, very slim chance of topping the group ahead of PSG.