It has been said of Arsenal in recent years that although the squad may have been a bit light in certain areas, with the forward options, defensive strength and the keeper situation all having caused us problems and attracted scorn in the last five years or so, there has never been a shortage of small and tricky players for Arsene Wenger to choose from.
I suppose that is still true to some extent, with our options in that area including players like Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky who have not even featured a lot this season. Despite this the boss still has a tough decision to make each week about whether to play Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazxorla and Alexis Sanchez altogether and if so, in which positions.
Wenger´s job has been made easier, however, by the way that all of our players can be fluent and interchange their positions during a game. We have seen Alexis play in all three forward roles as well as behind the main striker, we have seen Cazorla perform well in the box-to-box role as well as his usual number 10 and wide roles and we have seen Ozil play across the front line as well as his creative midfield position.
So maybe Arsenal have now turned what was perceived as a weakness by some into a strength. Too many similar players? Maybe, but these players all understand each other perfectly and that is perhaps why they can work as well together as Ozil explained to Arsenal Player.
The German said, “[Santi and Alexis] are the type of players that, like myself, think before things happen on the pitch. Especially with Santi, you can see that he’s playing such an outstanding season for the team and he’s so important for us.
“When you look at the whole squad, it doesn’t matter if the manager rotates slightly because we can compete as a team, no matter who is playing. That’s a big plus for us and that’s why we’re near the top of the league.
“[My partnership with Alexis is] progressing really well, and you can see that in our matches. He’s really important for the team and that shows with the goals – he’s scored a lot of goals this season.
“You can see it in training too – I look for him when I have the ball because he makes those runs. For that reason, we’re happy to have a player like that in our ranks.”
Assuming that Welbeck is unavailable for the Premier League clash with Liverpool on Saturday, Wenger will have to decide whether to replace him with a forward in Theo Walcott or one of our tricky and versatile players. My money is on Walcott watching from the bench. How about you?