By Walter Broeckx
I must say that I am not quickly to feel down about football. I am a rather optimistich Arsenal supporter. Things will only get better in the future for me. Even after a defeat I just look forward to the next match and hope we will win that one.
In fact I can give this as a good piece of advice to anyone who feels bad or feels like throwing things when we lose. Oh, I do feel angry and upset after a defeat but not really against the players. I always think and hope that they have done their best and the sun doesn’t shine every day so we have to accept it and hope for better.
To be honest I get more upset from the surrounding circumstances on such occasions than I get upset from a player making a big mistake. As I say: nobody makes a deliberate mistake. So why should I get angry at a player who will feel a bit down already?
But today since a few hours I do feel a bit sad about football. I first hoped it would be just another bit of fake news. I hoped that he would come out himself with a picture of him running on the field and playing with the ball…. But more and more newspapers come out with the news and now even papers in Belgium and Holland are saying the same: Santi will be out for the rest of the season.
Now I’m not going to start to cry. No, that thing you see in the corner of my eye is just because of the terrible wind that is blowing and making my eyes tear a bit. But I really feel sad about this news.
I think we all love Santi. How can you not love Santi? Such a small sized player but such a giant footballer. Is Santi the smallest player in the PL over the last years? I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he is in fact. But he is in my eyes one of the best players we have had since he came over in 2012.
The way this little man is playing between so many players who are one head or two heads taller than him…it takes some doing and he just can glide past all those giants as if they aren’t there. The way he can kick a ball with both feet and let it end exactly where he wants is amazing to see. Both players will be able to do the same with the best leg but he just can do it with both.
Him being ambidextrous is really something I have never seen on top level from any player. Yes most players can kick a ball with both feet (are you reading Kieran?) but the way Santi does it is something from another planet.
And Santi does bring a lot to our Arsenal team. After being placed in a more central role with Coquelin Arsenal suddenly clicked a few years ago. That doesn’t mean we never lost a match again but the balance he brought to the team was amazing.
And with him playing a bit deeper we suddenly had a second playmaker in the team. He could start an attack with a short quick passing move or use the long ball with both his feet. With Santi behind him we saw the best Özil.
Because with the two of them on the field we had a double playmaker to stop. With only one of them the opposition has it much easier to stop us.
Last week I was looking at my calendar and noticed March was arriving. That should have been the month Santi was planned in to come back. And now today I get a bucket of ice water thrown over me telling me that Santi will not be back. Not in March. Not this season.
Now this is something that makes me sad. And this is something that makes me angry. Because the little man with that big smile on his face deserves better than sitting home injured.
I want to see his smile when he is playing. I want to see him glide past opponents. I want to see his free kicks. His penalties… I want to see him running around enjoying himself.
If course the usual lot will come out putting the blame on Wenger’s door. But the injuries Santi sustained this season and last season were all from bad kicks. Last season he got injured when his knee collided with a Norwich player. And this time he was kicked on his Achilles in the CL match against Ludogorets.
I don’t feel like throwing things when Arsenal lose a match. But I do feel like throwing things when I heard the news about Santi.
I think his contract runs till the end of next season if I’m not mistaken. So I my big hope is that Santi will be back in the summer at the start of the new season and will produce his best football for us next season.
I also would like to suggest to Arsenal that if Santi can no longer compete at the highest level they should give him a coaching job with the youth teams. I am sure that he would be great to teach the young Gunners to use both their feet.
And it might keep him in London and we might be able to get a new Cazorla in the team in some 15 years time. Because for those who were in the Emirates last season and have seen Enzo Cazorla dribbling over the field….My god that was something special. You could see the good genes from his father all over that kid. I’m just going to watch some clips of young Enzo to make me feel better again….