Arsenal Tactics – Our best formation for Mesut Ozil

Wenger has to get the best out of Ozil – but how? by SE

The significance of Ozil firing on all cylinders for Arsenal just can’t be stated enough. Yes, with the acquisition of Sanchez this season, the German playmaker might not have the pressure of performing in every game he starts for Arsenal; but it’s not an insinuation that the North Londoners can function in pristine condition, without the German being at his best.

How do you get the best out of Ozil, if you’re Wenger? Certainly, playing as a winger, he is not doing justice to himself, or to the team. But the root cause of this problem is a no brainer, really. It’s more to do with Ozil playing out of position, and not so much because of other factors such as being jaded, rusty or, furthermore, pressure. Having said that, would you revert back to the 4-2-3-1 system that was bringing the best out of Ozil? In other words, do you adopt a system, specifically for the German to flourish?

I think, more than talking about systems and tactics, Wenger has to find a way of accommodating his best players in the positions they are comfortable playing at. Van Gaal – the new manager at Manchester United – despite sticking to the 3-4-1-2 system, one that looks self-sabotaging, has made it clear that he wants to play his best players in ‘their’ best positions. As a result, Rooney and Van Persie continue as strikers, leaving Mata to play in his amiable No.10 position.

On a similar note, Wenger would be ridiculous to not play the likes of Sanchez, Ozil and Ramsey – three players, who are by far his most important – in their favoured positions, where they can flourish. Thus, Ozil has to play in the hole. Sanchez can play as a winger; but, when you are hampered by injuries to key players, it wouldn’t be wrong to play the Chilean up top, while Sanogo plays in the cup games and builds confidence on his own self, more than anything else.

Coming to the system: Wenger, ideally, has to stick with the newly adopted 4-3-3 formation; but desiring to play your best players in their favorite positions means that, you slightly tinker with your system.

I would want Ozil to play through the middle, as my ‘false 9’. Now, with the acquisition of Welbeck, things are even better for Arsenal. Wenger can play with two strikers – Welbeck and Sanchez – thereby not leaving the lone Center Forward to do all the chasing and hold up play. Sanchez and Welbeck can play up top, with Ozil behind them in the hole. Flamini/Arteta continues as the solitary midfield pivot, with either Wilshere or Cazorla partnering Ramsey in that advance midfield.

This is how I, if I were Wenger, would tinker with the existent 4-3-3 system, to accommodate my best players in their best positions:

Monreal… Koscielny… Mertesacker… Debuchy
Ramsey…. Cazorla
Welbeck…. Sanchez

Also, playing Ozil centrally relieves him from whatever little defensive duties you would want him to commit to, while playing as a winger.

Final Thought
Playing Ozil centrally will do the player a world of good. That, subsequently, will get Arsenal playing the way they are used to. Otherwise, there is no cohesion about Arsenal’s attacks and, the absence of Giroud, Walcott and Gibbs, is not making life any easier. Wenger needs to address it quickly, as Arsenal enter a crucial phase of their 2014/15 campaign.


Tags Ozil Ramsey Sanchez


  1. Sczesney
    Debuchy Mertasacker Kocscielny Gibbs
    Flamini Ramsey
    Walcott Ozil Sanchez

    In my opinion our strongest starting 11.
    Easily capable of top 4, not so much the league.
    It’s possible we could win the league, but it would depend on Wenger’s tactics.

      1. He did leo,
        What I also noticed is, every team selected on this post does NOT include Callum Chambers, at either CB, or DMF.
        Would I play Chambers before Flamini, yes I would.
        Also NO AOC, NO JW, NO SANTI.

    1. seeing Arteta/Flamini as our holding midfielders makes me worried…Hope we get a strong and young holding mid by January. Playing ramsey and ozil together with sanchez right behind welbeck will be our best option. although ramsey needs to start his engines pretty soon

  2. yes he is being wasted on LW hopefully theo will return soon & with him & sanchez on wings it will be amazing & with welbeck upfront

    1. I can never understand Wenger sometimes
      .at the start of the season he had carzola who is a natural CAM playing on d wing and he actually started to look good n we all thought tht Ozil will as our CAM when he returned.. But Wenger has done d only thinking behind this is that Wenger wanted to develop his all round game as that have always been his philosophy with players..I don’t think it’s time to experiment tho..

  3. who provides cover for the fullbacks in that formation though? Ideally, Ozil would play in the hole, but (annoyingly) we dont quite have the right type of midfielders to play behind him. My 2 cents – a 4-4-2 with ozil as one of the front 2 in a ‘free role’. Wengers 2 cents – stick our 40 million dollar play maker on the wing :/

  4. We just need our attack to click right now we look so unbalanced and disjointed, our defense has been great for the last 2 years its just our attack we seem to be scoring less and less goals each season.

  5. untill walcott returns we should play with a diamong midfield
    4-4-2 (diamond)
    4-1-2-1-2 (to be precise)

    usual back 4
    ramsey wilshere
    welbeck sanchez

    pros – plays with strengths of ozil, wilsh, rambo

    2 STs profit players like sanchez, poldi, giroud, welbeck

    cons – no wingers but we dont need so much crosses into the box without the presence of giroud and we have got great attacking full backs

    1. I agree, Flamini instead of Arteta in some games and if this works for a few games i wouldnt even change it for Theo. He can slot in, for Welbeck or Sanchez depending on how things are going.

    1. Well he is our best player and when on form is ranked as one of the top 10 best footballers in the world and germanys main man.
      So getting him back on form and getting the best out of him should be an absolute priority.

      1. Ozil is our best player? Well, I never knew. I’m afraid whenever you join a new club your rating starts from ZERO. Past reputation counts for nothing. At the moment, Koscielny, Ramsey and Szczesny are better players for me. And just wait till Walcott plays a full season uninterrupted by injury.

      2. The other day someone slated Rosicky for not having as many assists as Ozil. Well that’s quite true. That’s one part of Rosicky’s game that I find difficult to understand really. Why doesn’t Rosicky do more assists? He has the technical ability. But I believe Rosicky offers more than Ozil does overall his lack of assists notwithstanding. If you looked carefully, you’ll notice that Rosicky has many “pre-assists”. He starts off the move that creates many of our goals. He presses, runs and tackles more than Ozil. He’s all over the pitch and improves our defensive game overall – especially in the bigger games. There’s more sense of urgency in his game. And of course, I don’t expect Ozil to run all the way from the halfway line to score against Spurs. LoL. Seriously, that goal was awesome. Thank you Thomas 🙂

        1. He wasn’t slated – it was merely pointed out that TR7 is very poor compared to MO11 in terms of end product ie: goals and assists – so the question was posed as to why all the anti-Ozil hysteria? But I see it has moved on to an argument about pre-assists – lol. If MO isn’t trying hard enough and is alleged to be lazy and still has way more end-product than TR7 then doesn’t look great for Tomas does it? I love TR7 but his whole Arsenal career has been a procession of cameos. Bearing in mind his supreme talent he has under-achieved at Arsenal. He should have been our go-to main man for every match. Ozil getting murdered for an average, by his standards, first season – TR7 has had 7 or 8 such seasons.

          1. love TR7 for a lot of reasons but just can’t cope with the fact that IMO 95% of the chances or emerging chances that take place and he is somehow involved,end up as a failure or a mess up.
            final passing and setting a play just don’t work so much for him in the recent years.

      3. Only in england you find fans that value work rate higher than abillity its actually amusing.
        I love rosicky but for all his running how many chances can he actually create compared to ozil.

        1. Unfortunately, “work rate” is part and parcel of football. If you can’t understand the importance of having players like Rosicky, Sanchez and Ramsey in a team, then maybe you’re better of watching darts. I think Ozil would be good at darts 🙂

          1. Ronaldo, pirlo, ozil, Messi, Xavi, Mata

            Milner, Barry, Hendsrson, Oscar, Willian

            One is a group with extremely high work rates the other is a group of player with extremely high ability but low DEFENSIVE work rate. I know who id rather have in my attack.

        2. It is his “pre-assists” that are now the deciding factor. Imagine Mertesacker has hundreds of pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre assists.

      4. a fan’s expectations should not be created by the cost of a transfer
        but only by the displays of a player.
        What a market can do to a price-tag is sth that shouldn’t be confused with once’s true value IMO.
        Just saying for the part where you expect more from a 42 mil transfer.

  6. Let’s not completely dismiss Giroud. If Welbeck doesn’t score then Giroud should be given a chance when he comes back. Remember Giroud has performed better so far scoring against Man City in Community Shield and important game against Everton.

    And Walcott MUST be part of the regular team when he comes back this month. He is one of our stars along side Sanchez, Ramsey


    1. If Welback cant score Giroud wont score aswell. I would rather see Walnutt leading the attack from time to time then Donky.

  7. My only concern about Welbeck and it’s a completely superstitious concern is that he wears the number 23 shirt… Think of the last 2 players to wear that shirt, Bendtner and Arshavin, look how they turned out… Really hope it’s different with Welbeck as I’m sure it will be!

    1. Arshavin was not that bad of a player. He himself carried Arsenal to the 4th place. That Wenger played him out poz. Lw and then freezing him out on the bench was not his fault.

    2. Number 23 isn’t bad. Arshavin – in my opinion – was one of the most gifted players we’ve ever had at the club. He’s one of my favourite ever Arsenal players. It’s a shame that his morale dropped towards the end. Even when playing bad, he still managed to get assists. And I rate Bendtner higher than Giroud and Sanogo anyway. It seems the only thing about the number 23 is the attitude issues the previous wearers had. But Welbeck has none of those. He’s a hardworking English lad. He’ll be good 😉

  8. If you ‘tinker’ with the 4-3-3 then it isn’t a 4-3-3.
    Ozil as a false 9, FFS wise up.

    Stupid article, contradictory and poorly written.

  9. If you ‘tinker’ with the 4-3-3 then it isn’t a 4-3-3.
    Ozil as a false 9, FFS wise up.

    Stupid article, contradictory and poorly written.

  10. At the end of the day, the best formation to suit Ozil is a classic Arsenal 4-2-3-1 which means he can play in the hole behind that striker feeding balls to the pacey wingers and striker without having to worry about tracking back too much seeing as there will be 2 midfielders behind him playing the double pivot to track back aswell as the wingers.

  11. I just want to know something here, is there something wrong with putting on 5-10 pounds of muscle? why don’t the arsenal players put on some muscle, despite popular misconceptions muscle doesn’t slow you down, just look at sprinters. I think it would do our players a world of good to be a bit more muscular in a league like the EPL. I agree with the formation you put up i hope wenger adopts that formation to get the most out of sanchez and welbeck.

    1. You become less agile, turn slower and are slower over short distances. For some players its beneficial, like bellerin id love him to put on a few pounds but for others like jack and cazorla id rather they keep their agility and rapid change of direction.

      1. Wrong!
        Look at any short distance sprinter, they are ripped.
        Over as short distance muscle is an advantage.
        The disadvantage is when they have to run as much as the players do, then it makes the heart work harder to supply the extra muscle with blood.

        Of course the answer is to buy some bigger players who are still at their optimum height / weight but are larger than most; Kompany etc…

    2. I think some of them are filling out – the Ox looked like a rugby centre or middleweight boxer on the field for England last night.

  12. 41212 is not bad and can work with Sanchez and Welbeck playing together until Walcott is back . But I think 4231 should be our main formation with the players we have and its easier for us to play that way.

    Our weakness playing 4231 is the left wing. We are predictable and don’t have no pace. Now that we have a lot of pace and with Walcott back soon I think we should play 4-2-3-1 with Walcott on the left, Welbeck as a striker and Sanchez on the right.

    Remember Arsenal away vs City where Walcott played little on the left? I think he could make Henry runs behind defenses as a second striker and Sanchez would harass defenses from the right like Robben, help with play making, defense and a lot more! We would have pace, better defense and would be more unpredictable.

    And as for Cazorla? I don’t think he and Ozil should play together and Cazorla is too good to sit on the bench and to be honest him Podolski are luxury players who are being used wrong. I think Campbell can replace Podolski well in the team and Wilshere and Rosiscky are enough to rotate with Ozil and Ramsey since they already need playing time and this guys symbolizes us on present and plans for the future. Wilshere and Ox also need a lot of playing time for progress

    I’m not a manager but I think Wenger should make clear who is part of the team and then give them playing time. I know its early but Sanogo before Campbell? and not playing playing Rosiscky for so long? However we should build our team around Ramsey and Ozil and make sure our young important players also get playing time.

  13. Ozil’s best formation is in the middle with lots of speed in front of him!!!

    Debuchy Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
    Ozil Ramsey
    Walcott Welbeck Sanchez

  14. I really think maybe we should go back to the formation we used in 2010-2012 4:4:3

    …………………….B A C K F O U R…………………….


    I really think if Diaby is back at any point in the season this team and formation could beat any EPL team…even Chelsea. It offers width, amazing counterattack opportunity’s and the ability to hold the ball.

    I ultimately believe Wenger is prone to try a 4-1-4-1 formation because it really clogs up the middle of the pitch and it will be hard for teams to blow us out of the water early. Munich used this formation last year and Wenger seems keen on the way Pep uses players. Munich was almost impossible to score on – Dortmund did it a few times but overall very few teams were able to really break it down aside for the Champions league.

  15. Anybody voting for Ozil is doing so based on Ozil’s past glory. Is it not absurd that we have to argue about his best playing position on every Arsenal article. Obviously fans love him and that can be explained by the different excuses given in his defense – he needs time to adjust to the premiership, he needs fast mobile players around him, he is exhausted, he needs rest, he has to be played in his preferred position etc. All these are excuses designed to hide the truth. Personally, if I have to Judge Ozil based on what he has played so far in Arsenal shirt, Ozil is has not lived up to expectation. How do we explain that our most expensive player is on the pitch and he hardly affects the game? He is mostly unnoticeable in both big and small matches. How can you explain that our attacking midfielder might not venture into the opponent’s “18 all through his stay on the pitch? How do you explained that we had a red card in a very important match and the coach needed to readjust and make a change, then the player to be replaced is our most expensive player? Ozil is our player and we have to be proud and support him. However, this doesn’t change the fact that he is by far not our best player!

  16. Sorry to say that but this is one of the dumbest posts i’ve seen in a while.
    That formation isn’t used by many (if any) clubs because it’s just doesn’t gives the team the width to stretch the opposition defense.

    What happens now with arsenal is really simple. Ozil is played there because we have no real DM so Ramsey and (Wilshere or Cazorla or who ever played along Ramsey in the central Mid) were there to help Flamini defensively. Ozil doesn’t bother to track back.

    The obvious formation if we ever get a proper DM or if Ramsey has to sacrifice his forward runs to help defensively is this.

    Debuchy Per Kos Gibbs
    ——DM — Ramsey—-

    That Pace up front will be tough to handle for any team…

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