FPL: Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla – Differential Potential?
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Santi Cazorla – Differential Potential?
A lot has been made of midfielders through this season’s fantasy football campaign, with 5 players in particular dominating manager’s selection thoughts – Bale, Mata, Michu, Fellaini and Walcott. But there is a 6th player who, whilst not exactly under the radar, has not grabbed the imagination as much as the others, is actually the 3rd highest scoring midfielder in the game, and 5th overall. He’s also as nailed on as anyone in Arsenal’s starting lineup, In this article we take a look at the Arsene Wegner’s £16m summer signing from Malaga, Santiago “Santi” Cazorla González, review his fantasy form, and prospects for your team through to the end of the season.
Cazorla was immediately handed the advanced role in the midfield three, ahead of the double-pivot typical now in the modern 4-2-3-1. He made a big impact as soon as GW3, with 2 goals away at Liverpool and 13 FPL points. At the time Arsenal were receiving plaudits for a new found defensive resolve and his Anfield brace came on top of him topping the key pass and shooting charts. A real prospect then, and with a home clash against promoted Southampton ahead the transfers soon flowed in. Almost 100,000 managers brought in the Spaniard for GW4 but despite a 6-1 thrashing of Southampton Santi registered just a single assist. He bounced straight back though with an assist and 2 bonus points away against Man City and followed that up with 3 goals in his next 7 games, including goals in games against Man Utd and Tottenham.
Cazorla really garnered full-on fantasy attention though with a hat-trick and assist in a 5-2 away win at Reading, scoring a whopping 23 points, the second highest single GW score this season, behind Walcott’s 26. This did come in the middle of an a lean spell though, just the one, albeit a big one, goal-scoring performance in 10 games. With his hat-trick haul still fresh in the mind though and a double gameweek on the horizon Cazorla’s ownership peaked up at 21% but despite a fairly decent return during this time 5% of managers have since got rid, driven mainly due to some scintillating performances by team-mate Walcott, plus the form and opportunities of alternatives in Gerrard and Bale.
The infographic below shows Cazorla’s form, which we measure by comparing the number of shots he takes from inside the penalty box with how many shots in the box Arsenal have. We can see that Cazorla’s form basically tracks Arsenal’s. If his team do well, so does he, if the team are struggling, so does he. He doesn’t carry the team and dominate, like Bale does, or Ba did for Newcastle. He doesn’t produce something out of nothing a la Van Persie.. He’s had a real slump through January too, scoring just once and averaging only 3 pts/game in that time, but as can be seen he’s got himself back involved in Arsenal’s attack now, and the goals and points have returned.
So, what are the prospects for Santi from now through to the end of the season? Well, we imagine it’ll be business as usual, but without the winter slump, averaging about 6-7 points per game through to the end of the season. This places him behind Bale, and indeed behind Walcott, but level with the likes of Mata and Michu. He’s significantly less owned though than all these other players, who are all 25-30% except for Michu who is almost at a staggering 50% now. Arsenal also have a tempting set of fixtures to come after their GW29, playing Reading, Norwich and Wigan at home, and Fulham and QPR away, plus another double gameweek, making Cazorla a massive differential captain option through that stretch. Keep an eye on his price, he could be just the player to make the kind of difference that counts.
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