Santi Cazorla’s warning to Arsenal and Mikel Arteta verdict
Former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has backed current boss Mikel Arteta as "the right man to take the club forward".
Arteta took over from former manager Unai Emery in December 2019 and won the FA Cup in his first season in charge of the club.
However, the Gunners have struggled in the Premier League this season and they currently sit ninth, twelve points off the top four.
Arsenal's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League are reliant on them winning the Europa League and they will need to overturn a 2-1 deficit in the second leg of their semi-final clash with Villarreal in order to reach the final.
Despite suggestions that Arteta's job could be under threat, Cazorla is "convinced" that the Spaniard can help Arsenal "achieve big things".
Speaking to uefa.com, Cazorla said: "I think he's the right man to take the club forward. It's difficult to follow a period like Wenger's – the club has to adapt to another kind of football, another philosophy, another vision of football.
"He's got a clear idea of how he wants his team to play, they're in the semi-finals and they did well in the FA Cup [last season].
"They have been pretty inconsistent but you've got to give him time and I think they're convinced that Mikel can get a lot out of the squad and achieve big things.
"I'm great friends with him and whatever good happens to him and the club I'd be happy for them because I'm a 'Gunner'."
Cazorla also had two separate spells at Villarreal and, ahead of the second leg clash between his former clubs, the midfielder warned Arsenal that they will have to keep "the best forward in Spain right now" quiet.
Gerard Moreno has netted 26 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions for Villarreal this season and Cazorla was full of praise for the 29-year-old, adding: "He is the best forward in Spain right now. I'm not saying that just because of the goals he scores.
"You shouldn't just look at what he does in the box and the goals he scores for Villarreal, but also what he does outside the box.
"He's a player who makes a difference, doesn't need a lot of chances to score goals, and he's at a point of his career where he's full of confidence and at his peak, which is ideal in terms of the team being able to achieve its objectives.
"He's a chilled-out guy, he works hard and he brings a lot to the dressing room as well."
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