Brilliant Santi Cazorla makes everyone at Arsenal play better

Oct 8, 2012

Premier League talking points from Arsenal's comeback to dives, elbows and stamps

EVERYTHING turned out splendidly for Arsene Wenger on Saturday evening as his Arsenal side recovered from a goal down to beat West Ham 3-1. Olivier Giroud scored his first league goal for the Gunners and Theo Walcott slotted a second to support his claim on a striking role, but the outstanding performance came, once again, from Santi Cazorla, who fired home Arsenal's third from the edge of the box. The diminutive Spaniard ran the show for Arsenal and has already established himself as one of the Premier League's best summer purchases. Even Wenger was moved to praise him, comparing him to Glenn Hoddle. "He makes everyone a better player," said the Arsenal boss. "It is a pleasure to watch him. It's a delight to see what he did on the pitch."

Robin van Persie's problems with Newcastle continued on Sunday as the striker was accused of elbowing Yohan Cabaye during Manchester United's 3-0 win at St James' Park. The incident was not spotted by referee Howard Webb, but the FA said on Monday that it would not be taking action against the striker. "Van Persie, who had been involved in several verbal exchanges with the French midfielder during the match, did appear deliberately to run into Cabaye late in the second half and raise his elbow sharply as they came together," reported The Daily Telegraph. Last season, while playing for Arsenal, Van Persie squared up to Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul.

If Liverpool fans hoped that their season had finally got going with last week's win over Norwich, they were left scratching their heads after the Reds could only manage a goalless draw with Stoke at Anfield. They remain stuck in the bottom half of the table without a home win this season. The main talking point concerned, as ever, Luis Suarez. His comical dive in the penalty area after 75 minutes, with no Stoke defender within a metre of him, drew scorn from Stoke boss Tony Pulis, who demanded that the FA take action. ESPN blogger Ed White commented: "Last week the Uruguayan was the victim of reputation, roll on seven days and he rubber-stamped exactly why such a reputation existed in the first place."

Ashley Cole and John Terry helped Chelsea to a 4-1 win over Norwich on Saturday as they extended their lead at the top of the table. But matters off the pitch dominate events at Stamford Bridge. Indeed, The Guardian's match report on Monday barely even mentions the game and instead focuses on what Chelsea should do about its errant defenders. Cole is to be disciplined by the club over a tweet sent on Friday in which he described the FA as a "bunch of twats", but he caused more controversy on Saturday night by criticising Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer. He was also charged with misconduct the FA on Monday. However, Cole's behaviour is the least serious problem facing Chelsea says the paper, which asks whether Terry can remain captain of the club after the FA report into the Anton Ferdinand affair. The Blues may even have to consider sacking him, it claims.

The weekend's controversies, which also included a row over a header that may have gone over the goal line in match bertween Man United and Newcastle, were all too much for Tony Evans in The Times. "Dives and elbows. Stamps and selective blindness. Yesterday was just another day in the life of the national game. Here, hypocrisy rules and coherent thinking does not exist," he lamented. "From the ruling bodies to the terraces, there is a lack of logic about the game. There is a collective madness at work that only makes sense where reason is contorted." The main problem, he says, is that the beneficiaries of controversial decisions rarely complain. "It would be a start if supporters stopped being blind to the transgressions of players wearing their club's shirt," he said.

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