Attack-minded Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, who is currently enjoying a run of fine form is looking forward to battle with Monaco’s star in midfield João Moutinho. The hard working destructive player has been an instrumental part of one the most defensive team in the Champions League.
Wednesday’s round of 16 first-leg tie at the Emirates Stadium offers the very first ever competitive meeting between both clubs. However, this is not going to be the first face-to-face encounter for Cazorla and Moutinho who played against each other in the Europa League in 2010/11 with the first one playing for Villarreal and the second one for Porto.
Opta-powered fantasy football game Oulala.com took a close look at two midfielders with different roles in their current teams.
30-year-old Santi Cazorla forms part of attack-minded Arsenal whose players have scored 15 and conceding eight goals in the most prestigious club competition in European football this season. On the other hand, Monaco conceded only one goal in this season’s group stages which is the best defensive record. Even so, they only scored four goals, the lowest tally among the teams still left in the knockout stages.
The Spanish international have played five matches, assisting for two goals. The stats also show he has made nine shots with two missing the target and five being blocked by opponents. He has yet to find the net.
The two years younger Moutinho has impressed more with his destructive play than his attacking attributes since signing from Porto little over a year and half ago. Nevertheless, he managed to score one goal from one shot on target in a home defeat against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and crafted an assist in a victory at the home stadium against Russian side Zenit.
Regarding the creatively, the Portuguese international have completed 194 passes with the success rate of 83% percent which puts him behind his Spanish opponent who has made two passes less but has enjoyed a better pass completion percentage (86%). This is not a surprise as Monaco have averaged the lowest possession in the Champions League this season among the 16 teams left in the competition (43.8%).
Cazorla also comes on top of successful crosses as he has completed five, compared to Moutinho’s three. Another statistic reveals that the latter has suffered 14 fouls so far and currently sits 11th on the overall table after Eden Hazard who has been fouled 28 times.
The numbers show that the Arsenal Player of the Season (2012–13) is in better form than Moutinho who was, interestingly enough, also chosen for the best player of that season during his spell at Porto. Also, Arsenal have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions and the Gunners will be expected to secure another victory in Arsene Wenger’s first game against his former employers. An easy ride for Arsenal?