No place for Xhaka and Ozil in a 3 at the back system? by Nothings Changed
Each system requires different roles from the players. Not all players can play in multiple systems or tactics for that matter. Do you want to play a high defensive line? Mertesacker’s lack of pace will not do well. Do you want to play Barca or Bayern on the counter? Giroud’s lack of speed will not do well. Do you want to unlock a defense by bombing crosses into the box? Giroud is your man and Sanchez is not (as a central striker).
Now that it seems we have switched to 3 at the back as default system I don’t think there is space for Khaka and Ozil.
Here is why; 3 at the back relies on 5 defenders when on your own half and out of possession. You can still compliment these 5 defenders (3 CD and 2 wing-backs) with 1 defensive midfield player giving you 6 defensive players. Add a second defensive midfield player and you are compromised going forward with only 3 attacking minded players or forwards. This means that the defensive midfield player needs to be a proper DM, ie good in the tackle, closing speed to fix errors, sniffing out problems before they develop. Xhaka lacks the ability to tackle and lacks closing speed. This means he needs a defensive midfield partner which only works with 4 at the back and 2 defensive midfield players. So no room for Xhaka’s skill set in this new system IMO. He can not function without a defensive midfield partner and Ramsey bombs forward and leaves him exposed.
The way Wenger likes to play his 3 at the back is with Xhaka and Ramsey as a midfield pairing. This leaves room for 3 attacking players. Last week against Stoke those 3 were Welbeck, Laca and Ozil. This puts Ozil as a right-winger. He is not good enough as a right winger and doesn’t take on defenders to get to the back-line. In addition, he is also supposed to be our creative player which means he roams out of position to the other side of the pitch if need be, leaving the right side without a bite or exit option when we have possession. In our new system, you need two proper wingers who can score, take on defenders and make it to the backline and put in good crosses. Ozil is not that player.
Ozil’s right of existence IMO would be if we had a proper DM (Gilberto, Kante, Matic etc) Ozil could take a central role behind the 3 forwards. But put Ozil next to Xhaka would be a disaster defensively and put him on the right wing and you get neither a proper right winger nor an omnipresent playmaker.
So without wanting to be tough on Xhaka and Ozil, I don’t see how this system has room for them.
Finally, the 3 at the back system relies heavily on pressing hard as soon as we lose the ball in the opponents half, not unlike we did so well against City and Chelsea late last season and in the FA cup final. The moment you stop pressing in the opponents half your system of 3 at the back becomes a defensive liability because it leaves you exposed to be overrun like we were on the Stoke goal. So if we are not going to press and make our midfield hard to penetrate the system switch won’t lead to fewer goals or better results.
If you disagree with my view of the 3 at the back I am looking forward to your explanation.
Nothing changed (but the system has)