Arsenal Tactics – How Ozil and Cazorla can play together

How best can Santi and Özil play together? by JA

Hey guys . Happy new year.

So he’s back. I’m talking Theodor James Walcott and the eye (Mesut Özil) so right behind him. An added piece to this jigsaw is that Santi is on form, so how would I have all three on the pitch and keep them productive.

In my view, Santi and Özil don’t perform the same role. Santi requires more touches to be effective Özil requires as few as maybe three. Santi is stronger and more of a ball holder than Özil. Özil is a better passer than Santi. These observations mean that Özil doesn’t necessarily have to start directly behind the striker.

From a personal point of view, after watching the Hull City game, I felt if we had Özil on the right as opposed to Joel Campbell, we’d have been more deadly

Cazorla carries way more value in the middle than Özil. He is stronger and more defensively switched on. Özil, on the other hand, is a predator, one who would operate better in an area where he attracts less attention. So to me we’ve got to get rid of the right flank to make space for Özil.

A final personal observation is that unlike Fabregas, Özil rarely plays a direct through ball down the center. I’ve not seen many times where he creates chances from the middle. He’s often running from wide inwards, or from in outwards, when he usually plays the killer pass. This movement I describe is very similar to Campbell’s at the weekend.

In conclusion, I’ll present two of what I think would be our best lineups with the above protocol being followed .

First I’ll go with 4-3-3 with what I would call our most fluid lineup
Debuchy. Per. Kos. Gibbs
Özil Walcott

in the above formation the back four is carrying out the usual job with the fullbacks bombing forward to support attack. Arteta doesn’t move. Ramsey goes back and forth supporting the defence and attack. Now Cazorla is charged with creating some sort of distraction with his dribbling skills. Drawing the opposition defensive midfielders and creating space for Özil to drift in from the right.

Walcott and Sanchez in the meantime buzz around the box trying to pick out pockets of space, so despite the fact that one starts on the left and the other in the middle ,they are both required to be in and around the box when we attack while having the left and right void occupied by the wingbacks. In addition to all this Aaron Ramsey is giving an extra man in attacking midfield or attack. All this is happening in a few seconds with the ball at Santi’s feet. The next step to the attack is for Santi to release the ball to Özil. Out of all this movement Özil now has Ramsey, Walcott, Sanchez, Gibbs, Debuchy and Cazorla to release in dangerous positions. He only needs two or three touches to do it. From all the movement there is probably no one marking him, and better, the oppostion probably don’t even know where he is and have no time to scramble before he releases someone.

My second formation is a 4-4-1-1
Deb. Per. Kos. Gibbs
Walcott Özil Sanchez

This one is more complicated. Its targeted still at making sure that Özil is unmarked and Santi is buzzing. I know it looks funny to start Özil behind Santi but this formation is meant for really fast lightning strike devastation.

The ball is played out of defence by Arteta toward either Özil or directly to Santi. Santi drives forward to combine with Giroud as the rest of the team arrive to support, as it normally does. As Cazorla and Giroud hold up play with strength and skill, Sanchez and Walcott tuck in behind Giroud as the wingbacks cover their voids. Özil arrives late from deep with a supporting run, picks up the ball from either Santi or Giroud to release Sanchez, Walcott, or the fullbacks. This system could work if we are not really bossing posession and we are not creating too many chances. Again you have opposing teams concentrating on the immediate danger of Santi combining with Giroud, Sanchez and Walcott darting into the box. With the fullbacks darting outwide that they may forget to track Özil arriving late.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of the day… .


Tags Cazorla Ozil


  1. Ozil and Walcott won’t make much difference we need defenders our defense is shambolic that’s why we are not winning enough games

    1. With players coming back from injury, it will be interesting to see how Arsene flexes his tactical nous when most of them are available.

      Welbeck – Giroud
      Alexis – Cazorla – Ramsey – Walcott

      Walcott – Giroud
      Cazorla – Ozil – Ramsey – Alexis

      Alexis – Ozil – Walcott
      Ramsey – Arteta/Coq

      etc. so many variations, but lets see if we don’t get any injuries first. We scored from a corner vs Hull, maybe some things do change… who knows.

      1. @Wazzzimbo

        Yeah, we scored from the corner cos for once we decided to use our tallest player appropriately – in the middle of the 6 yard box competing for the ball instead of the flick on thing….was disappointing that same tactics were not used in the comers for the rest of the game.

  2. I can’t even take the article seriously, with such and a wenger in charge, no wonder we get pounded.

    1. I find the article to be of top quality. I obviously agree with it on so many levels. Although I am also one of those who are of the opinion that the best approach may be to bench one and play the other depending on individual form and match-day tactics.

      1. Note too that those setups will work best if the team (the entire unit) learn to press the ball effectively and early when not in possession. There will also be need for a fast DM with good positional-sense to cover the space vacated by the RB who bombs forward to support Ozil on the right.

  3. Why force the issue? the flanks is for the wingers and we have plenty of those,plus alot of defensive work is required on the flanks which am sure you know ozil can’t perform to save his life.I like Ozil alot but currently he has to settle for a place on the bench and take his opportunity when presented with one.Every team needs healthy competition, NOT favourism

    1. Building a team is like building a car, You need a reliable set of tyres [defence], you need agility and strength especially in the defensive midfield areas, computerized systems [intelligence/creativity] mostly in the attacking midfield areas, precision especially in the box. For the premiership, you need a car built for the off-road, it’s a rugged league. On the Off-road you your tires to have a solid grip, but are our tires that reliable? In the defensive midfield areas, Le Coq has brought us some agility so far but we obviously still need some strength which Giroud has to track back to provide most of the time, in the attacking midfield areas, Mr. Wenger, an Engineer by profession fails to understand that you do not overload your off-roader with more computers [creative midfielders] than necessary. Yes the rugged factor might not apply as much in the Champions League which is more like F1 where you can add more computer power but still there has to be a balance, that balance is what we are generally lacking.

      1. The irony of it all when you realize that all your comparisons and analogies are probably right except that Wenger is not the engineer- Manuel Pellegrini is the engineer! Wenger is an economist; and unlike an engineer, an economist will usually worry about economic and financial cost first before making decisions. The engineer on the other hand… well, he worries about efficiency and efficiency only. He sees a striker that needs replacement? he just goes ahead to buy Bony Wilfried!

        1. If you have money at your disposal, loads of money then you can afford to be only one engineer. Trouble with that is that you will never become a good engineer because you can pick whatever assembly you want, sky is the limit. An economist like Wenger has first to check what capital he’s having and try to beat Pellegrini with vastly inferior resources. And so far I can say we are quite on par in their direct encounter. Now, who’s the better engineer?

          1. @budd are you hallucinating again??We are nowhere near Manchester city young man,they are assured of a top 2 finish while we are not even sure we can finish in the top 5.Wake up and smell the coffee,wenger now is at best a fourth place manager while pellegrini is a title contender.Let me summarise it for you:ARSENAL WILL NEVER WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE AGAIN NOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH WENGER IN CHARGE…. NEVER!!

            go cry on a pillow son,that’s the reality

            1. If you were able to read , yes financially or squad depth we are nowhere near City. Where did I say otherwise? All I have said is that between Pellegrini and Wenger there is quite some balance : 2 draws, 1 win Wenger, 1 win Pellegrini. Probably there will be another Pellegrini win in two weeks but so far there is a balance. The only difference is that Wenger had nowhere near the resources Pellegrini had. Which makes him better at “engineering”. Next time read what people write and only then fart your mouth spewing sh it. Mkey? You 29 yrs supporter !
              As of Wenger not winning the EPL again, who the fu ck knows? Why not?

    2. Wenger however, loves playing his favourite players untill they get injured, then responds with “oops, but now we know how much he can handle” only to not correct the mistakes at all. Great señor.

  4. you just can’t do without playing szcesny in goal……. Can you? ……..c’mon give ospina a chance

    1. and just so you know, the only way wenger gon try accommodate ozil and carzola in the same team is either ozil plays on the wings or santi goes to the bench (not ideal, considering his recent form)…and how come there’s no proper striker in the Line-up?….only make shifts

  5. All good and well but AW will do it his way. OZ will leave in the summer as he is very unhappy at arsenal and with iPod going it makes it very low for him and BFG. No good germen will come to the arsenal now that iPod has gone. I don’t think iPod will work out anywhere he goes unless it’s his home town club as he has never been tops with any other club. I just want a fit team to defend our FA cup and for gods sake get 4th place. COYG

    1. @arsenalkid1970 …….. “and for God’s sake, get 4th place” ……..boy! You just don’t know how to aspire higher ……can’t imagine someone adoring 4th place this much

  6. Noooooooo!!! i don’t agree…i hate it when people try to force situations. Cazorla and Ozil are both CAM’s and we can’t play both of them at the same time.
    We should pick the in form player and the other should come off the bench until he impresses more than the other.This thing of trying to fit in Ozil by all means is shit.
    Ozil must sit his ass on that bench because Cazorla is on form,he must work hard in training and as a sub to convince Wenger that he’s currently better than Cazorla.
    This competition between the two will be good for the team.

    Please guys lets stop trying to change formations just to keep certan palyers happy.

    1. All well and good but where did you get your CAM tag for Santi from? Santi did not play CAM for Villareal, Malaga nor Spain – nor for us until recently. His best season for us came when he was playing as a false winger on the left. Bottom line is he is talented enough, 2 footed and positionally cute enough to play pretty much anywhere. He has been great for us recently but no-one on here have been happy about the team performances or results – so not like we are setting the world on fire with our Santi in the centre experimentation. And we can and will play both of them – don’t be silly.

  7. I’d go:
    Debuchy Mert Kos Gibbs
    Özil Cazorla
    Walcott Alexis

    I’d play Ospina instead of Szczezny. Szczezny is far too rash for my liking.
    Coquelin gives more protection than any of our other supposed DM’s. Due to this Özil and Cazorla can be more free in front of him. Ozil and Cazorla can link up with nice quick passes and then look up to see Walcott and Welbeck making runs. Alexis always drops deep to find the ball so we won’t be crowded out in the middle either. We then have Ramsey, Rosicky, Giroud and wilshere on the bench to come on and make a difference.

    1. Think TW will be hopping on and off the bench for a while longer yet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see:
      MD PM LK KG
      AS MO SC – MO off after 60-70mins – SC reshuffled to centre and TW or AOC on

      Bench: DW/TW/AOC/MF/CC/NM/WS

  8. @arsenalkid1970 …….. “and for God’s sake, get 4th place” ……..boy! You just don’t know how to aspire higher ……can’t imagine someone adoring 4th place this much

  9. Man City in advanced talks to sign Bony for 30 m , you have to laugh their 3/4 choice striker is better than our forst choice
    Liverpool in talks with Bayern to sign Shaqiri
    We are in talks to sign some unknown French CB for 6 m
    And Kronkie has just been on sky sports opening another venture
    I will leave you to guess if we will challenge ever again

    1. Difference between us and City is that our goals are spread across the front 5/6 players, whereas for City it’s highly concentrated in the striking department and the player playing behind him. They need 4+ strikers, but look at Madrid, Bayern and co. They only really need 2/3 strikers because their Wingers chip in with a lot of goals… Alexis & Theo can easily replicate that.

      Shaqiri is supposedly headed to Inter, either way he is a quality player, not something we particularly need.

      Perrin is well known if you follow french football, it’s only because he’s playing for a lesser side is it less documented. I doubt any French folk know about Reid, but we’d take him in a heartbeat. Perrin is a fighter, and has a great attitude to the game (much like Koscielny) and at £6m for one of the most highly rated defenders last season in Ligue 1 is a snip. He is no slouch (much like Per/Squigglyachi).

      If you think we can get Hummels or Varane in January you’re snorting too much Charlie son.

      1. they were without three strikers very recently but their form was still pretty good, they have players across the pitch who can score, kolarov, zabaleta, navas, silva, nasri, toure, lampard even milner bags the odd goal so without dzeko jovetic and aguero they might not score as many but I dont know if without welbeck sanchez and giroud we’d get as many goals

      2. What a unintelligent comment they rely on their strikers for the goals , they score more than we do genius oh and win more than we do
        And no I don’t think we are in for Hummels because we have a cheapskate manager and owner which is exactly my point “Charlie “

  10. Ha city in advanced talks with Swansea over Bony.
    Not enough fire power I suppose

    1. Looks impressive on paper mate but with Negredo out on his ear at Valencia, Aguero an injury about to happen (could of been an Arsenal man in that respect), Jovetic relative flop, not prolific and another one-man injury crisis, Dzceko crocked – 11 PL games last season – not quite as big and scary as you make out. And not sure how Bony the bulldozer is going to make out in a technical and intricate MC team in a 2 man attack with Aguero. Watch his career plummet on the bench – he is a £30M stop-gap.

  11. How come when the rumour we are interested in Bony Swansea say not for sale in the summer, Man City go and and already in advanced talks, oh that’s right as I told you wenger ALL players are for sale at the right price

    1. Funny..Although Bony was the top scorer in the Dutch league 2 seasons back many here thought he wasnt good enough for AFC.they claimed that the Dutch league is mediocre and produce mediocre strikers like Luis Suarez.These same fans thinks Welbeck is good enough for AFC…Schizophrenia is rampant on this site

      1. You talk $ hit just to talk $ hit. I don’t remember anyone here dying to have Welbeck at AFC. Everyone was relieved to see that we at least signed a striker once Giroud took the knock. All of you fu ckers were crying that if Wenger wouldn’t be pushed by Gazidis, Obama and Kroenke he wouldn’t have signed Welbbeck in one million years.
        Now look at you, bashing Wenger for doing exactly what you wanted you piece of scum calling yourself supporters. Turned out the old fart was right the entire summer.

      2. Probably the majority on here rated Bony and no-one mentioned Welbeck before he arrived so you need to redirect your fabricated anger. Personally, I don’t rate Bony that much, an uncomplicated but decent scorer, a mediocre technician. He could do a job for us but we would basically have to re-arrange the team/personnel and tactics to accomoodate him. The PL is littered with such players who look good as the superstar in a mid-table team where they are the sole focus but will probably flop at a higher level; Ba, Benteke, Michu (remember him) and latterly the likes of Austin. MC are desperate, and can afford to be desperate – a£30M stop-gap to upgrade on James Milner for a couple of months. Bony ain’t good enough to play in a 2 man forward line with Aguero – as soon as everyone is fit ED and SJ will be pairing with SA again and Bony will be polishing the bench with his arse.

  12. The only place where Cazorla and Ozil play well together is in Wenger’s head. Ozil should be on the bench considering how Cazorla has proven himself and come back to form.

  13. Whatever the formation, Ozil MUST be in the center as #10. That is where he shines.

    What is the point of spending over £40 million on a player when you consistently play him out of position.

    Ozil between Walcott and Sanchez behind Giroud/Welbeck

  14. Cazorla has been superb recently an he should retain his place even after ozil returns…instead of having two CAMs in the field at the same time,we could do with two good tacklers in ramsey and coquelin and a good passer like arteta to make the midfield flow smoothly…some people complained about those two dangerous tackles by le coq against hull and while i agree that they were bad tackles,its a good thing that we finaly have a midfield hardman who is willing to take the fight to the opponent and be able to pass well at the same time…thats the work of a shawcross and n’zonzi may have to try other means other than just kikcing our midfielders like the latter recently put it jokingly.

  15. I’m hoping that by the time we play Monaco these players will be on the field together

    Giroud or Welbeck
    Arteta or Coquelin
    Mertsacker or (if Wenger gets better CB)
    Ospina or Szczesny

    We can win but need these players playing in the correct position

    I want us to do well in Champions League because I’m not 100% sure that we will be in Champions League next season. Southampton and United seem to be settled in #4 and #3. Also, Liverpool are just 4 points behind us (if they get a WC striker, they could overtake us.

    Wenger be warned: Buy big in January. Don’t be stubborn and cheap.

      1. Whe table doesn’t lie we are 6 th half way through, all the AKB are praying when we get everyone fit we will gain 4th, I think we all have to start thinking we are no longer Gunners we are a buisness to which we pay money into

        1. Don’t start with the AKB bullshit again, just because someone doesn’t criticise every part of Arsenal and doesn’t like every post that is negative doesn’t mean they are an AKB. I’m completely content with a new manager at the end of the season. I’m not praying for 4th because i’m confident it will happen. He warned that Liverpool are only 4 points away as if they are a great threat and then in the same paragraph he says that Southampton and Man United are “settled” in 3rd and 4th even though they happen to be only 3-4 points ahead of us and that only happened last match. See what i’m getting at here, there is a difference between being realistic and being blatantly negative with nothing to back up what you are even being negative about. Man United have been poor, even in their wins at home against lowly opposition they have 2-4 shots on target. Southampton are a mid-table team in brilliant form but who have they had injured so far, no one except Rodriguez really. We have had SEVEN starters out for more than 5 weeks at a time and have had CL games which have now come to an end.

          I’m not saying i’m satisfied with top 4 however, i’m really tired of all these statements about how crap our players are and how we are going to lose top 4 and how great liverpool, tottenham, southampton, man united, chelsea, and city are.

  16. If we rotated players regularly, and substituted players timely, all this won’t be a problem at all. Also many players continue posting mediocre performances, yet they continue getting picked. Life is very hard for a fringe player at Arsenal. With everyone fit, we play the same 11 till they collapse. That said, I wouldn’t have any formation without either Giroud or Welbeck in it. We need a little bit of physicality up front. We had no shape at all with Sanchez upfront in the last 2 games.

    1. You are perpetuating a myth. Whether by accident or design we rotate as much as, and in most cases more than, nearly all the PL teams. The facts tell us that we have used more players than most of the top half teams and have the fewest number of players who have started in 16 or more of the 20 PL matches so far. Chelsea have 9 players who have made 16 or more starts this season. We have 3.


  18. Sorry but I see a lot of non arsenal fans here. We won’t change the club and when AW goes upstairs do you lot think for 1 min that he will let any1 come in and change what he is doing? Arsenal will never spend like Man City United or Chelsea no so just get on with what we have

  19. hmm i would almost tempted to use

    Debuchy Kos Mer Gibbo
    Coq Cazorla
    Walcott Ozil Sanchez

    I feel like Coq can offer us the protection we need against a stoke side that will most likely stand off us while providing us with our best attacking line

  20. 4-1-2-2-1 allows our best players to play their best positions

    Sz (ospina)
    Deb (hector) Per Kos Gib
    Shniederlin (art, coq, clam, diaby)
    Santi Ozil (Ram, Jack, Rsky)
    Theo Alexis (Ox, Joel)
    Giroud (Welbs)

  21. I’d rest Cazorla against Stoke, play Rosicky and bring Özil on as a sub if he’s fit. Can’t remember the last time Cazorla was given a rest, he’s bang in form but has played a lot of games – he’s in his 30s now remember. I’d rather Cazorla was fit to play City than using him against Stoke, who we should beat with or without him.

  22. First of all,

    Arteta and flamini’s time is done IMO, time for Le Coq to continue with his form in that position whether they are fit or not. Secondly, IMO its either or (cazorla/ozil) and in my opinnion we need to keep riding cazorla’s form unless he cools off, only then we can bring back Ozil full time.

  23. I would go with FC just for the hell of it, just for a change to liven things up. But think it would be premature to start imagining FC is any sort of upgrade on MA. I would prefer to think FC is nudging MF out not MA. He is a favourite hate figure but MA generally does a job there and most of our better results have come when he plays and he is ultra reliable in possession. Personally I would like to rein in our out and out attack philosophy, especially away from home, and play both FC and MA – we have the ammunition in our front 4 to sneak the goals.

  24. I like your second formation is a 4-4-1-1, but i would vary it by having Ramsey take Arteta’s place. Damn, Ramsey can be the deeper position player with all the attributes Arteta brings to the game but more competently deployed and he has played there before…two matches in January 2013…we won them and he enjoyed it. He will be faster, more penetrative, some goals in there and will shield the four back players not out of brute force but intelligence…He will not be a defensive midfielder, but a deep positioned play maker…A Xavi of Barcelona and the AW attempted and found Arteta too isolated could now work with a hard working Ramsey…imagine a 25 year old Arteta converted to his present role…definately he would be more effective than what we have today. That would allow Ozil and Carzola to operate in the centre of the field. We converted Arteta successfully. We can Convert Ramsey too…
    Deb. Per. Kos. Gibbs
    Walcott Özil Carzola Sanchez

    If possible let upgrade on Martesacker, Gibbs and Giroud. I would get Chelleini from Juve, Conceição off Real and Cavani from you know where…

    Deb. Chelleini. Kos. Conceição
    Walcott Özil Carzola Sanchez

  25. So for My dream Arsenal 2015 I would get Chelleini from Juve, Fábio Coentrão off Real and Cavani from PSG.

    Deb. Chelleini. Kos. Coentrão.
    Walcott Özil Carzola Sanchez

  26. i prefer your second team selection better but i’d replace arteta with coquelin.
    when it comes to speedy games your 1st team selection is more suitable.

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