Pat Nevin on the Cazorla-shaped hole in a fading Arsenal team

Ex-Chelsea and Everton winger talks to Off The Ball about the playmaker's injury absence

Pat Nevin on the Cazorla-shaped hole in a fading Arsenal team

Adam Davy / PA Archive/PA Images

Pat Nevin believes Arsenal have missed Santi Cazorla's influence in midfield as their title challenge drifts into nothingness.

The playmaker was ruled out for months before Christmas with Arsenal in a much healthier position in the Premier League.

But on top of players like Theo Walcott performing poorly during the season, it has been compounded by the Spain international's absence. 

"I'm sure they'd be a far better side if they had Cazorla," said Pat, who also gave his take on the major risk of parting ways with manager Arsene Wenger, citing mistakes other clubs have made.

"They really miss him. Because it's not the assist pass but the assist-to-the-assist-pass, he's the one that creates the openings, carves it, has the massive intelligence. Ozil has that intelligence a little bit further forward but he's dependent on getting the ball in the right places."

Pat also said he was "so delighted" that Jamie Vardy's attempt to win a penalty for Premier League leaders Leicester against West Ham yesterday was punished with a second yellow card.