Özil’s perceived lack of form, motivation and effectiveness in the team has been debated by fans and journos alike over the past months, weeks and days. Some have even questioned Wenger’s alleged favouritism in steadfastly retaining for Mesut a starting position despite his lack of impact on our game.
In this space, we have debated whether Özil is being played in his best position, or whether a central role would be better suited for him and the team. A view has also been expressed that maybe we have too many similar midfielders. With the arrival of Alexis, we have asked ourselves whether we have an embarrassment of talent in the midfield. Should Mesut and Santi therefore play in rotation.
And then the going got tough, with Özil singled out, I think somewhat unfairly, for lack of effort in a lacklustre performance away to Dortmund, Just then, as if to silence all critics and faithless doubters, the tough got going. With Alexis sidelined very late away to Villa, Mesut mesmerised us with a fantastic game. One goal, one assist, dominating the midfield and involved in everything that Arsenal did well on the night.
Speaking on Match of the Day, Martin Keown said: ‘With Alexis Sanchez not playing, the team was dancing for his boots. Sanchez will obviously come back in at some point but Özil was magnificent in the central role today’. This then begs the question: Can Özil and Sanchez play effectively together?
Tactical bolleaux of this nature is not my forte. I know f*** all about tactics. Nevertheless, in a simple-minded way, I think the strengths of the two are very different and they can effectively do this together.
Early in the season, the team was being organised with Giroud as the front man. The option of Alexis as a striker was explored, but without great success. Perhaps, that would have settled matters with Mesut in the centre of the midfield. Then came Giroud’s injury and Welbeck arrived. With this, I think another dedicated front man is no longer essential.
Besides, I think Alexis would be a waste at the top. That way, we will lose his enormous skills in distribution. However, there is another attribute to Sanchez’s game that is different from what anyone else in the team can offer. Alexis is good in challenging for 50-50 balls in the midfield and can break up opposition play. In this role, he takes away 2 or 3 opposition players with him. This then leaves space for other players to operate with.
I think this is ideal for Özil. Mesut is brilliant when he has a bit of space to work with. If Alexis can wrest possession from the opponents, and Özil can then distribute to onrushing players, this will be just ideal.
It remains only for the good guys to forge this combination effectively. Whereas we now have a mildly potent attack, we will then have a powerhouse in attack.
What do you think, chums?
Written by arnie