Where does Ozil fit in the new Arsenal system?
Subjectivity is one of the most important things when being a writer or covering sports for any format, sadly certain papers or pundits disagree with that but I think anyone worth their salt will, or should agree.
The reason I started with the last statement is, as you may recall, in my last article I defended Mesut Ozil against some of his fiercest critics. My hope was that he would star for Arsenal in the North London derby silencing his critics with a display comparable to Pele or Maradona. Sadly, due to a back injury he has had for over 12 months the aforementioned performance did not happen.
Almost frustratingly the attacking midfielder to make an influence in the derby was Aaron Ramsey, I say frustrating because, he is a man set to leave Arsenal , either in January or in the summer on a free transfer. To a degree although it is good any Arsenal player, is playing well it would almost be good if the outgoing player was playing poorly, so he would not be such a loss.
Moving forward though Ramsey’s performance could also spell good things for Mesut Ozil, as long as he is able to work with Arsenal head coach Unai Emery to do what is expected of him.
After looking how Arsenal started the North London derby and the Manchester United game, shown here is how Arsenal could line up for the rest of the season , injuries permitting. As titled Arsenal started with a 3 4 3 formation, with an importance on players pressing high and not giving the opponents space to pass or move into. I think although Ozil and Ramsey playing would mean there would be less width in the team, they could be the best two players for the two positions behind the striker who appears to be Aubameyang now.
The big thing here and in any Unai Emery team is Energy, where almost every player is expected to run, a lot in the game. Although Mesut Ozil has improved the amount of distance he is covering this season, he will be expected to run a lot to chase players down up front for Arsenal in this position, with possibly only Aubameyang the only player allowed to cover less than 10 km per game. The stats show that Arsenal are one of the hardest working sides when it comes to distance covered on the pitch, if Ozil can add that part to his game , even just a little then this high octane team could be unstoppable.
Alternatively, we have Arsenals second half formation and performance that could be key to Ozil in the future although it would mean rotation with Ramsey. In the second half of the North London derby and the Man United game Unai Emery changed the formation to 5 2 1 2 with two strikers upfront and an energetic playmaker, playing behind the forwards. The formation is similar to the one Spurs use on occasions with Christian Eriksen playing in the hole, which is ironic when you realise Arsenal beat Spurs with their own tools.
This formation though creates a great possibility for Mesut Ozil to play in his favoured position in the hole, that position in the middle of the pitch in front of goal behind the forward. Ozil has played in similar formations for Germany to great effect and could do so for Arsenal. As previously, stated the important question is, can Ozil reach the energy and tackling standards that is expected of him, that the outgoing Ramsey reached versus Spurs?
On another note here are your Xmas ideas……
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.