Santi Cazorla has been one of the most influential players in the Premier League…when he’s on the field.
That has been a big question mark recently. The Spaniard missed the final six months of last campaign – only returning in time for the final match – and now could be out to start this season as well, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“At the moment he is not completely there on the fitness front,” Wenger said following Arsenal’s 3-1 friendly win over Chivas Guadalajara, in which Cazorla played 45 minutes before being removed at halftime. “He’s a bit behind the others physically but I think he will be alright, maybe not on Aug. 15, but at the end of August he should be alright.”
That’s nerve-wracking for any Arsenal fan for a number of reasons. Defender Per Mertesacker is out for at least three months already, while Mesut Ozil is also a question mark having just returned from his post-Euro break, and losing yet another starter would put an even bigger dent into the squad out of the gates. In addition, with the type of injuries Cazorla has – knee ligament and Achillies tendon problems – any further setbacks, however slight, could foreshadow even more time missed in the future.
Thankfully, the club will have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back and fit for the start of the season. Another oft-injured player, Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the final five months of last season, but scored a stellar solo goal in the friendly and is ready to go at the moment. Alexis Sanchez is also training following his return from break after finishing the Copa America.