Mesut Ozil’s role as a winger – A profound analysis by SE
Even before the season has started, there are an exorbitant number of things for an Arsenal supporter to be intrigued about. The primary of the lot is to be considered as genuine title contenders for the Premier League title, which has eluded Wenger and Arsenal time and again in recent seasons. But there’s an air of assertion about the Frenchman’s moves in the transfer market, and the possibility of all the new signings clicking into gear sooner rather than later. And, with the acquisition of new players comes a possible shift in the existing system used by the manager, which is no different in Arsenal and Wenger’s case.
Arsenal’s 4-3-3 was on show at the Wembley on Sunday, and going by the result it rendered, it didn’t do too badly, eh?
But here’s the thing: The traditional 4-3-3 doesn’t have a No.10 role to fill in, despite the dynamism this system can render. And, as it is anticipated already, Arsenal’s most expensive player till date, Mesut Ozil, has to resort to playing on the flanks. It will, however, be a different kettle of fish for the German playmaker, who enjoyed playing in his favored No.10 position behind Giroud for much of last season.
Ozil played as a winger for Germany at the World Cup, and, although he didn’t light up the assists chart at the showpiece event, his overall game wasn’t bad by any stretch of imagination. In fact, his pass completion rate was a whopping 87%, which is commendable for a player who plays as a Left-winger or as a No.10. In addition, the former Los Blancos playmaker created 17 chances for his teammates, which is second only to Lionel Messi’s 19. Ozil also made 1 assist in Germany’s World Cup winning campaign, and scored his solitary goal against Nigeria in the R-16 en route to Germany’s quarterfinal clash against France.
But, with the tall strikers like Giroud and Sanogo leading the line for Arsenal, Ozil might be forced to put a lot more crosses into the box – something which he is not accustomed to. At the World Cup for Germany, Ozil made a meager 0.8 crosses per game, which is way below than Robben’s (1.8), Valbuena and Di Maria’s (3.7), and Neymar’s (2.0).
If there’s one feature of Ozil that is enviable for both the player and the watching spectators: It’s him drifting inward of his opposing full back, while playing as a winger, doing a layoff for the onrushing midfielder or forward and pulling out one of his trademark through balls, which, almost always, mesmerizes the classiest of defenders.
However, this season, the acquisition of Sanchez, and the rise in stature of Ramsey will mitigate the pressure on Ozil to keep churning out performance after performance, which will be a welcome change for the German.