…….On the Arsenal bench of course!
So for a change Arsene Wenger put Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and an unfit Alexis Sanchez in the Arsenal midfield, with Olivier Giroud as the target man in the middle.
Of course I am very happy that Giroud scored an excellent goal against a top side like Crystal Palace, but where where the other central players supposed to play except in the centre?
Wenger was over the moon with Ozil’s performance and you can’t knock the German as he has proved that played in the centre he is formidable. “He had a very good performance.” Wenger gushed. “He was important getting out from the back, getting out of tight areas. It is a pleasure to watch the quality of his passing and the intelligence of his passing.
“What I told you is what I want from him more is a few more goals this season. For the rest of the build-up in the game he was magnificent. He works harder than people thinks he does. He is not spectacular in his defending but he wants to do the job, he wants to help the team. What I liked in his game today was he made many runs without the ball behind the defenders, which is a bit new as he likes to come with the ball. Today he mixed up his game better.”
And of course Santi played a great game down the middle as usual. In fact Wenger made it clear his best position is in that position. “Cazorla is important… the start of the game when the ball comes from our defenders, because he can pass from deep midfield to high midfield better than everybody and get out of pressure.
“That’s why I positioned him more central. He is not any more a player on the flanks who can overlap and cross the ball.”
So what about Ramsey? He has made it abundantly clear that he wants to play down the middle, but he always ends up on the wing and cuts inside as often as possible during the game.
We all also know that Sanchez’s ideal position is also Number Ten, but he is, as always plays as a left-winger, cutting into a central position as always. But there is also the problem that he had a much longer summer break than the others and needs to regain fitness. Wenger even remarked on it today? “He brings a drive forward. He brings the pressure on the opponent. He brings goal chances. When it was 1-1 it is no coincidence that he found the header over Ward [and] maybe it’s a typical Alexis goal. More desire than fitness, he is still a bit short fitness-wise but he is a fighter.”
So who do Arsenal actually have that could be called a real winger. Theo Walcott springs to mind. He is very match fit, and although he also wants to play in the centre, he has made his name as a lightening fast winger, and in fact does that job very well. Where was he today? On the bench for the whole 90 minutes, despite an unfit Sanchez being left on the field for the whole game.
What about Oxlade-Chamberlain? A very fast young winger who is in excellent form and fitness right now. On the bench for the first 64 minutes of course! I’m not sure that having four players that all excel in the centre being on the field at the same time.
Does Wenger no longer think that good football sides even need wingers any more? Especially fit ones????