The Spaniard was voted man of the match as Arsenal stunned Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, scoring a penalty and providing an assist for Olivier Giroud
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has heralded Santi Cazorla as the perfect role model for young players aspiring to shine at the top level.
The Spain international was voted man of the match as Arsenal triumphed 2-0 at Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday, scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot and providing the free-kick delivery for Olivier Giroud to head home the decisive second.
Wenger believes the attacking midfielder is reaping the rewards for his versatility and feels the young players in his squad can learn from the way he plays the game.
“Cazorla has started playing centrally – he played wide a lot and now he’s at a level of his career where he can have more influence centrally,” Wenger told reporters.
“He’s been fantastic because he gets you out of pressure in very tight situations. He finds openings that are very interesting.
“He is a good example for young players, he shows you how important it is to be two-footed in the middle of the park, it’s a vital quality for a midfielder today and he does that very well. He loves the game.”
Another of Arsenal’s unlikely heroes at the Etihad Stadium was Francis Coquelin, the 23-year-old less than two months removed from an inauspicious loan spell with Charlton Athletic in the Championship.
Coquelin has yet to establish himself as a first-team regular but Wenger insists he never had any doubts over his quality and suggested the youngster’s loan move has aided his development.
“I took him from France at the age of 16. Today he is 23,” the Gunners boss added. “He has gone through some difficult periods but he’s a learner from his experiences.
“I’ve always kept faith in him, because I told him three months ago that he needed to play somewhere. He accepted to go down to Charlton and had convincing performances.
“Now he’s come back, I’ve played him and he’s done very well.”