Santi Cazorla admits Arsenal are inconsistent under Mikel Arteta but backs him to achieve big things #englishheadline
Santi Cazorla admits Arsenal are ‘inconsistent’ under Mikel Arteta but backs ex-team-mate to ‘achieve big things’ ahead of do-or-die Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal
- Santi Cazorla has admitted Arsenal have been inconsistent under Mikel Arteta
- The pair were team-mates and Cazorla has backed his friend to be a success
- Gunners face another of Spaniard’s former sides Villarreal in huge tie this week
- Midfielder was a fan-favourite at Arsenal and revealed he loved playing for club
The Gunners are ninth in the Premier League table, and are relying on winning the Europa League to secure a place in Europe next season.
Santi Cazorla has back his former team-mate Mikel Arteta to be a success as Arsenal manager
The Spaniard admitted the Gunners have been inconsistent under Arteta but still backs him
‘I think he’s the right man to take the club forward,’ Cazorla told uefa.com.
‘It’s difficult to follow a period like Wenger’s – the club has to adapt to another kind of football, another philosophy, another vision of football.
‘He’s got a clear idea of how he wants his team to play, they’re in the semi-finals and they did well in the FA Cup [last season].
‘They have been pretty inconsistent but you’ve got to give him time and I think they’re convinced that Mikel can get a lot out of the squad and achieve big things.
‘I’m great friends with him and whatever good happens to him and the club I’d be happy for them because I’m a ‘Gunner’.’
Cazorla, who now plays in Qatar for Al Sadd with Barcelona legend Xavi as his manager, was a fan-favourite at the Emirates, but left in 2018 after an ankle injury blighted his last two years at the club.
Cazorla moved to Qatar last year to play for Al Sadd and is managed by Barcelona legend Xavi
The Spaniard underwent eight surgeries on the problem, one leading to gangrene and doctors telling him he should be happy just to walk again after fears he could lose a leg.
Despite this injury hell, Cazorla looks back on his team in England with great fondness.
‘I enjoyed myself the most in the Premier League,’ Cazorla said.
‘For me, playing at the Arsenal Stadium every fortnight was wonderful, in front of our fans in such a lovely and amazing stadium. It’s something I really miss because it’s a special feeling.
The midfield was a fan-favourite Arsenal and looks back on his time in England with fondness
‘I don’t know why the fans have been so good to me as I’ve only done what I did at every club, trying to do things the right way and bringing something to the table, and the love they gave and still give me is priceless.
‘It’s unforgettable and it’s down to them that I’m such a Gunner.’
The 36-year-old had two spells as a Villarreal player, and ahead of the second-leg of the Europa League semi-final between two of his former sides, Cazorla’s hope is that one of them will lift the trophy in Gdansk.
‘The only thing I ask for is that the team that reaches the final wins it,’ Cazorla said.
‘I hope I can be there – I’d love to watch the Europa League final live with either team in it and, most of all, to witness the joy of the winner.’
The Gunners face another of Cazorla’s former sides Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final
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