Is Santi Cazorla a Central Midfielder?
I was messing about with some historic Cazorla data, and as I noted on Twitter at the time, I’ve never seen a shape like Cazorla’s Arsenal season in 2012-13, especially on the attacking midfielder/forward template. This got me to playing with the awesome radar tool that @SamiHernia is building, and I started looking at Cazorla’s stats on the CM/DM radar template instead.
Here are four seasons of Santi’s output, with the AM radar on the LEFT and the CM radar on the RIGHT. Check this out and see what you think. (I had to crop these originals to stop the site breaking.)
It has me wondering if Cazorla is actually better as a center mid, and if playing him there can extend his peak output. There’s evidence to suggest that his defensive output is high enough when put in the right position, and he’s perfectly capable there as a passer. Additionally, this should keep him from taking quite so many long, awkward shots. Positional maps in most Arsenal games I saw had Cazorla tucked so far inside that he looked mostly like a midfielder and not a winger anyway.
I don’t actually know the answer, by the way… it’s just a question that struck me when looking at the two visualizations.