With the signing of Mesut Ozil, comes a feeling of euphoria and excitement. Despite not bringing in a backup striker for Olivier Giroud and the already injured Lukas Podolski, I am extremely happy with the Turkish German coming to The Emirates. For me, he is underrated and I don’t think people realise how special this guy is.
On the official Arsenal website, they spoke to Raphael Honigstein and he said:
“I think something will have to give [in terms of Arsenal’s system] – They can’t all play No 10. I think the strongest position for Ozil is centrally, behind the striker because it also relieves him a little bit of the duty to run up and down, which isn’t really his game and doesn’t really bring the best out of him. He needs the time and space for himself to come up with a real genius idea.
“He has played on the right or the left as a playmaker that plays wide, very much what Cazorla does now. Arsène Wenger has a history of taking central playmakers and putting them on the wings. He can definitely play that role but I would suggest that in the Premier League, which sees a lot of up and down, he would be better in the No 10 position.”
And I completely agree with him.
But how will Wenger deloy the gifted attacking midfielder?
We know Ozil can play off the striker in the Number 10 role, but also on the wing. The problem is that Arsene has a record of using a creative player out on the wing and it could be argued that this has hampered their progress, and influence on the team.
Andrei Arshavin mainly played just behind the striker at Zenit St Petersburg but was used in the wide positions. The same happened to Alexander Hleb, and also to Tomas Rosicky when he first arrived. While Rosicky plays less on the wings now, he is now playing deeper than his preferred position behind the striker.
Asking players to change from a typical Number 10 to the wing means they have to do a lot of tracking back and pressing. Arshavin struggled doing this and we all know how his Arsenal career ended. Hleb adapted a bit better, but the clips from Stuttgart where he was bursting through the middle with his dribbling and pace seemed to disappear when he came to Arsenal. Rosicky is a player that always gives 110% and in that sense Arsene has been fortunate.
Mesut Ozil is a mercurial talent and I don’t think he’s the type to burst a gut to help defend. This assets are in the final third where he can find a pass no-one else can. Some people compare the signing to that of Dennis Bergkamp back in 1995, and he was devastatingly effective in a more advanced role behind the striker.
So where will Arsene use Ozil? He needs to make sure he doesn’t play him in the wrong position.