Cazorla enjoying Gunners life
Santi Cazorla says he feels right at home in the heart of the Arsenal side.
- Related Content
The 28-year-old midfielder has impressed during his first season in the hustle and bustle of English top-flight football following a £15million summer move from Malaga.
20. Santi Cazorla
Cazorla revealed Arsenal's own brand of 'tiki-taka' made it easy for him to settle quickly alongside fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta and England midfielder Jack Wilshere.
"For me it is important to go out onto the pitch and be comfortable, and that has been the case since the first game. I have always been at ease on the pitch," Cazorla said in the Arsenal matchday magazine.
"In my case too, you do not notice much difference between Arsenal and playing in Spain, because we are also a side who like to play with the ball.
"The boss has a philosophy of playing football, it is always trying to find attacking football, of having the ball and because of the characteristics of the players we have, it is what comes easiest to us."
However, manager Arsene Wenger has a few fitness concerns.
Captain Thomas Vermaelen missed the 1-0 win against Stoke last weekend because of an ankle problem and did not go on international duty with Belgium.
Fellow centre-half Laurent Koscielny limped off during France's defeat to Germany in Paris with a reported calf problem.
Should both men fail to recover in time for the trip to the Stadium of Light, then out-of-favour Sebastien Squillaci or Spanish 20-year-old Ignasi Miquel could have to step in to the heart of the defence alongside Per Mertesacker.
Francis Coquelin is another option, but the defensive midfielder has missed a couple of matches with a hamstring strain.
Vermaelen feels when Arsenal have a full-strength squad to choose from, they are more than a match for any side.
"You could see it from the start of the season that this team has a lot of potential. It is a case of everybody staying fit, then we have enough quality in this team to beat anybody," Vermaelen told Arsenal Player.
"I think you could see that in the games we played against top teams. We didn't get the results, but I think in some parts of the games we played well."
Vermaelen expects Arsenal to face another stern test of their character this weekend.
"Sunderland away is always a tough game," he said.
"I think Sunderland has a little bit more technical quality than Stoke."
Meanwhile, midfielders Tomas Rosicky (virus) and Aaron Ramsey, who returned from Wales camp with a calf injury, are also doubtful for the trip to the north-east.
Forward Gervinho is set to rejoin the squad following Ivory Coast's elimination from the African Nations Cup, but is expected to be given some recovery time before being thrown into action.
Nacho Monreal impressed on his debut after a deadline-day move from Malaga and the Spain international looks set for a run in the side with England left-back Kieran Gibbs still sidelined by a thigh problem.