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Wenger praises 'under-rated' Cazorla

ESPN staff
May 17, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Arsene Wenger has hit out at Santi Cazorla's omission from the Premier League team of the season, describing him as one of the most under-rated players in England's top flight.

Cazorla has gone off the boil somewhat after a sparkling start to his career in England following his move from Malaga last summer, yet Wenger is convinced he deserves more plaudits as his team prepare for a final game of the season at Newcastle that could book their place in next season's Champions League.

"I think he is a bit of an under-rated player in the Premier League," Wenger said of Cazorla on the Arsenal website. "When you think he was not in the team of the season picked by the players, it's quite harsh. Personally I would have put him in there.

"When you look at his quality, that is of course outstanding, but also his attitude and work rate for the team. He is one of the players who has been absolutely outstanding this season."

Meanwhile, Wenger has insisted he is not concerned by the absence of the injured Mikel Arteta ahead of Sunday's trip to St James' Park, convinced he has the players in reserve to plug the void left by the influential Spaniard.

"Mikel is an important player, but in one game you can always compensate," added Wenger. "It's more of a problem when a guy like that misses ten games.

"For one game, we will find the resources to do without him if we have to. I'm convinced we can because he was out for a while during the season and I played all sorts of combinations.

"Arteta was out and we played [Aaron] Ramsey and [Jack] Wilshere. A few times I played [Francis] Coquelin or [Abou] Diaby, so we had a few combinations that could work."

Wilshere will be available for Sunday's game at Newcastle, but he may not start just a few days before he goes under the knife for surgery on his troublesome ankle.

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