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Cazorla: Giroud among Prem's best

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has told French media he believes teammate Olivier Giroud is among the Premier League's top strikers.

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Cazorla, 29, has contributed four goals and three assists in 19 Premier League appearances this season, helping the Gunners sustain their title challenge.

The Spain international has proven a success in north London since he moved to the Emirates Stadium in summer 2012, arriving at the same time as Giroud.

Goalscorer Santi Cazorla celebrates with Olivier Giroud after scoring Arsenal's first against Fulham.
Olivier Giroud has 10 Premier League goals to his name this season; Santi Cazorla has four.

Though the former Montpellier man has only 10 league goals in the current campaign, well behind the 23 strikes of the English top-flight's leading scorer Luis Suarez, Cazorla insisted Giroud compares favourably to the Uruguayan and other big-name Premier League forwards.

"He's a great striker, and we've seen that since the start of the season," Cazorla told RMC. "He's our first-choice striker and he is also doing great things with the French national team. He's playing at a great level and improves year on year.

“For me, he's at the same level as the other forwards in the league. He's strong and can keep the ball. In the penalty box, he's effective, whether that be with both feet or his head. He's a bit different to what you usually see in England, but he brings us a lot."

Unlike many of his country's premier footballers, who either play or have played for Barcelona or Real Madrid, Cazorla, took a less glamorous route to the top via Villarreal, Huelva and Malaga. And the diminutive midfielder says that while he might have liked to join one of La Liga's two giants, he does not dwell on the past.

"Those two clubs are monuments of Spanish football,” Cazorla said. “They make all players dream. I had contact with Madrid a few years ago, but it didn't come off.

“Several times, destiny has meant that I haven't been able to join one of those two clubs. But my career has just happened like that, and I don't regret anything."



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