Arsenal and Santi Cazorla: Gunners In Danger of Becoming A One Man Team

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Saturday's 1-0 defeat away to Norwich City, was that it revealed just how much Arsenal are reliant on Santi Cazorla.

Without a stellar performance from Cazorla, Arsenal are fated to defeat and that makes the Gunners a one man team. Being entirely dependent on the output of a Spanish playmaker is a familiar dynamic for Arsenal.

Things were the same when Cesc Fabregas used to direct play from advanced midfield areas. When Fabregas was threading through passes and making dangerous late runs into the box, Arsenal were a match for anyone. However, when Fabregas faltered, the Gunners became easy prey for any opposition.

This season that same problem exists, but only the names have changed. Cazorla has replaced Fabregas and when he is on form, as he was during Arsenal's 3-1 triumph away at West Ham, the team wins.

Yesterday's drab defeat showed what happens when the reverse is true. Cazorla toiled hard and his efforts were a credit to him, in a team that was otherwise sluggish and lazy.

However, as much as he grafted, Cazorla couldn't produce the level of quality and assurance that has marked many of his performances during his first season with Arsenal. His passing range was off, as he over hit many attempts to free the Gunners' forward line.

He was also unable to craft as many shooting opportunities for himself, as he had enjoyed in previous games. Norwich worked at denying him space around the box and that meant Cazorla couldn't exert his influence in decisive areas.

The problem is that when he doesn't, nobody else will. Arsenal need Cazorla to do his best work in decisive positions and they need him to do it in every game.

At the heart of the issue is a cold, harsh reality that other than Cazorla, Arsenal don't possess any legitimate match-winners. As accomplished as Mikel Arteta is, he is a steadying force and not the player who will turn a game around.

Up front, Lukas Podolski is an assured finisher, but is not a dynamic force. Neither Gervinho or Olivier Giroud inspire confidence that they will provide the moments of magic to gain control of tough games.

Cazorla is the only member of the current Arsenal squad capable of providing the inspiration and class needed to consistently decide games at the top level. So Arsenal will only go as far as the diminutive ex-Malaga schemer can take them.

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