Ozil states HIS case for Arsenal CAM role over Cazorla

We heard a few days from the Arsenal and Spain international midfield maestro, Santi Cazorla, about why he felt that he was more effective in the Central Attacking Midfield role for the Gunners, rather than being stuck out wide as he was for much of last season.

As I wrote in an article for Just Arsenal, I think that his words were instigated by the return to fitness of our German playmaker Mesut Ozil, who is clearly the main rival to Cazorla for that central role. And now Ozil has given Arsenal Player his own say on the matter.

It is no surprise to hear Ozil claim that his own talents are much more effective when used through the middle. The German feels that it is his vision to spot a pass and be able to execute it to get his team mates into good positions that is his main strength as a player. And to be fair to him, he has been the undisputed king of the assists in recent years and that is the main reason why Arsene Wenger smashed the club transfer record to sign him from Real Madrid.

Ozil said, “Before you get the ball, you think about where your team-mates and the opposition are likely to be. I have an idea of where my team-mates are when I receive possession, and where they could run.

“Of course what happens next depends on them as well as me. If they make runs into space or we think along the same lines, I can play the pass.

“But if I see the gap and they don’t run into it, you can’t play the pass. We have so much quality going forward. We have players with a lot of pace, who think about what’s going to happen and that makes it easier.

“You have to think before you receive the ball, because the game now is so intense and quick. It wouldn’t work otherwise.”

With all Arsenal’s injury problems last season, Ozil often had to do without the likes of Walcott and Ramsey running into those key areas but if he does now get his place in the centre back for Arsenal, he is likely to have not only those two, but Alexis and Welbeck to work with and then we really might start to see the best of Ozil. …..

What do you think Gooners?

Tags Alexis Walcott


  1. Theory no 5:
    The reason behind the downfall of ozil’s performance since his move from real madrid is simple, He had quality players around him, Players who could take the ball and go solo and score. So when he gave the through balls at real madrid most of them generally ended up in a goal, hence the assist. but in arsenal apart from sanchez, no1 is confident of going solo and score with pace. Look at the chances last season he created for giroud, and how many were wasted. In arsenal only one through ball is never enough to score goal like in real madrid ronaldo used to. Here we need one more extra pass. If he becomes more patient in style I am pretty sure if we get a killer striker in front of ozil, he will get the best out of him.

    1. It’s up to the tactics of wenger….i think we can use both effectively or rotate them hence reducing on injuries. Difference Carzola can operate in any setting and even score goals on the other hand Ozill excels on pace of those in front of him(the manager should know that) Just a clinical pacey striker full of trickery is needed

    2. wait a second….Ozil was seventh in prem last season for assists, which isn’t totally overwhelming stat but it aint bad considering he was injured for large parts of the season. and he was playing in th prem for the first time, in a team with players who would actually make runs.

      1. 7th in PL and 1st for us so need to be a bit careful where we take aim on this. A “lazy”, “ineffective”, “overhyped”, “weakling” Ozil still managing to out assist any of our regular heroes and also with only 2/3s of a first season under his belt.

        1. lol point well made. lazy, ineffective, over hyped, and i’ll add, aloof, and unfocussed. yet he was still our team’s #1 assist maker. clearly he should go. lol

    3. People really need to think and remember why Managers not Wenger but Managers in general stick Central players on the flanks, Its for their development to learn how to track back and cover the flanks Everyone must be stupid to think Wenger doesnt know Ozils strength is through the middle but Hes a manager and he knows his weakness was being on the flank and not contributing to defsensive duties Anchelotti noticed that and thats when Ozil got punished being subbed off for not putting in enough effort getting comfortable playing through the middle without tracking back, Wenger noticed this including Joachim Lowe so they played him on the wings to learn how to track and defender instead of giving the candy to the baby and letting him get what he wants through the middle hes learned the ard way the same way Wilshere had todo getting pushed over to the left when we all knew Wilsheres game is through the middle Even Santi has had to play on the left and look at his improvement defensively now he tracks back and puts in a shift in defense because he knows since leaving Monreal or gibbs for dead when he was played on the left, You guys need to Study football more and how World Class managers Develop the Squad and Individuals with there weaknesses and lazyness.

      1. We might suffer from it in games for example when we see ozil leave Monreal on the back post (Cant remember who it was against) & Podolski never tracking back and when he did he either drew a foul or didnt get back up the pitch in the counter attack, But in the long term its good for the players growth, Santi being my prime example which is why i think he deserves his place in the centre more than anyone now.

        1. good points. on top of that, having ozil play into the middle from the flank allows us to interchange and confuse opposing defenses. another tactic. one his holiness zidane employed on a reg. but, yes, to mentally, physically, and tactically train is always part of a pro players game. being able to maintain a high level of consistency is far from easy.

      1. @Jonestown1 Erm I think you’ll find in the majority of games in Cazorla’s first season with us which was 2012-2013 he mostly played down the middle. That’s no.10 CAM.. Get your facts straight mate.

  2. Ozil is a pass master who doesnt need a whole lot of space to deliver the killer pass but it all depends on the players around him. He is just back from a lengthy injury, so, i think wenger should continue continue to ease him in till he is 100% fit to play.the CAM belongs to him and carzola and wenger can sometimes play carzola(considering his all round play) as box-to-box mid why ozil play the cam but it all depends on the opposition.

    1. Has everyone forgotten how terrile Ozil was before the injury. I know how amazing he can be, but his lack of effort and giving the ball away cheaply was really hard to watch for me

      1. indeed. but he has already convinced everyone of his quality. so we have to keep supporting that. to do so means he has to play. even on the wing. he’s a competitor, so he will bring it.

  3. It’s great to have world class players competing for a role. However it’s not a secret that Wenger prefers Wilshere for the number 10 role and he will be fit very soon so both Ozil and Carzola gotta be comfortable playing on the wings.

    1. Why all the thumb down?? The guy said the truth after all, mark my words the more Jak come back, one of santi or ozil will be dropped to bench and the other one to the wing, just for him, not because he’s better or anywhere near them, but because he’s wengers favorite.

    1. You’re not good enough. BOOM!

      On a bit more serious tone, Özil was one of the most important players in Real Madrid during his time there. Sure, he’s not good enough.

    2. ozil hasn’t played as well as his wc capabilities allow him too, maybe. creating an environment where he finally will is the trick. stating simply that ozil is just not good enough undermines your credibility, sir.

  4. Having Ozil and Cazorla means we
    can rotate. FA cup EPL and ECL will
    mean 3 games ever 9 days so both
    will receive plenty of game time.

  5. Ozil was not doing this every game when he had players fit to run onto the balls. He had Walcott at the start, he had Ramsey available, Giroud of course, but his form was not up to scratch. I was personally surprised he made it into the German World Cup squad and to be fair, for him to fit he had to play on the flank … where he played ok for Germany but for Arsenal, the flank does not get the same effort given to it.

    As for his passing, it has been woeful in some games and so has that of Cazorla.

    The best passers of the ball in the Wenger years were Bergkamp and Emmanuel Petit, the stuff Ozil says about himself descibes these two players …. Petit was the king of Through Balls and both he and Bergkamp were specialists at dropping a long ball onto the feet of players from any part of the pitch and any distance. Ozil in comparison is not on their level.

    If I was to pick a player from Ozil and Cazorla, I would choose Ozil and rotate Cazorla with Ramsey. I would not ever play either on the flank where I feel they are wasted. It would seem to me like starting a game with 10 players.

  6. Right, where are those folks (@jonestown1 I see you) that were arguing that Santi’ played LW position in his first season with us? And that his best position is actually LW? Atleast Santi’s recent comment has proved that argument is utter crap! His best position is CAM and he, for a fact, played there in first season with us -his best so far.
    Same also applies for Ozil. It is clear as day that these guys prefer playing in the CAM position more than the wings. FFS, they made their names by playing in the middle for their previous clubs! Wenger is just being a nutty professor by playing this guys on the wings. And all that excuse as to why Ozil was being played on the wings,… we all know its just so Wilshere can be accommodated in the starting lineup.

    1. I can understand Ozil’s position as he is a specialist in assist to push the ball in the open space for attacker to rush forward in attack. It’s quite similar like Barcelona where they work on that system in a better understanding of each other the pattern of attack. I know Ozil was not effective when he played wide in different position by Arsene Wenger.

    2. You found me. Santi’s comments prove nothing – he basically says he likes a more central role and wouldn’t mind doing more time there. The very reason he says this is precisely because he has played most of his career for club and country NOT in this central position. He has found out that he quite likes it. My point was that for 95%+ of his senior playing career he has NOT been playing as a No.10 or CAM. Fair play to him if he wants to play there but you cannot ignore his whole career to date in trying to make a case for him over Ozil at No.10. It is not like Ozil is kicking him in to touch and telling him to move over from a position he has owned and operated in from day one. And I hate the term “left winger” when discussing Arsenal. Anyone who appears on the team sheet on the left of the 3 is played as anything but a winger -especially when they are as two-footed and as clever as someone like Santi. It is a false winger position, constantly coming inside, no great effort made to go past an opposing player on the outside or reach the bye-line, and constantly swapping positions along the front 3. The closest thing to a real winger we have is Walcott but even he is not a dedicated winger. Look at the heat maps for the 3 in our preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and it is often difficult to tell which is which in terms of starting positions. There are a fair few arguments that kick off on here regarding players playing in their “natural” positions and everyone has a single position tag/label they want to pin on a player and throw fits if Wenger deviates from this. Personally I think Ozil and Santi should play together and Santi is presently undroppable.

      1. agreed. we like to play interchangeably up front. that way whoever is in the space gets played. simple. it creates confusion, and opens up space. the main concern is tracking back. so far, we’ve improved as of late. let’s hope that we continue to. alexis and his work rate are infectious. he’s a joy and a wealth of value to the entire team for that quality alone.

  7. Ozil should stop making up excuses and play in whatever wing he is asked to play.Cazorla doesn’t have a problem playing on the wings as long as Arsenal are concerned he knows he just has to do it,the same thing with Sanchez. So let Ozil stop complaining and work hard for the club.Ozil is too lazy that is my conclusion.

  8. Ozil is actually fighting for a spot with Rosicky now. Rosicky played the CAM role in the last 2 games, while Cazorla played the Ramsey role. I think Cazorla just loves to play centrally, whether directly behind the striker or linking defence and attack. Ozil and Cazorla can play together. Remember that defence splitting pass Cazorla gave to Ozil in our last game? 😉

    1. Agreed – I liked Santi in there, he is like a little busy Spanish bee buzzing around, high work rate, constantly on the move – sort of reminded of me of any one of those diminutive tricky Barca players from their better vintage teams five years back, not physical but always in the way, closing and pressing and just being a nuisance.

  9. Love the headline and framing narrative – Not. Maybe it’s meant to be cheeky, but to me it’s just an insult to readers.

    Ozil’s interview doesn’t make the slightest allusion to his position on the field.

  10. I like Ozil and CAM is his best position, so for me he must play here. What I dont like about him is his lack/fear of shooting at goal… but as Sanchez will be there then he will do most of the shooting and Ozil may pick up some more assists (fine by me).

    If you’ve watched the last few games Santi has been playing in a more deeper role of midfield alongside Coq. This is where he sees more of the ball and in turn can do more with it and I personally think his attributes in this position help when it comes to defending i.e. when cornered in our own half he is the best player to get the ball out, has a great eye for a pass and the best close control of any player I’ve ever seen.

    Against Man City Ramsey will probably come in for the Coq (shame really as the Coq is in top form atm).
    My team: Giroud , Sanchez, Ozil, Ox (Theo not ready), Ramsey, Santi, Bellerin, Kos, Mert, Mon, Ospina.
    Ramsey must sit though for this to work. Ox and Sanchez will help out defensively because of their work rate, allowing Ozil and Giroud to work off each other without worrying about defending.

    1. i love me santi, so don’t get me wrong. he has mastered the pull back and around method (yes, the pun is also intended) but, “the best close control of any player . . . ever . . . .” i suspect that was hyperbole. but if not, then i also suspect that you never watched maradona, or even messi, and certainly zidane, cruyff, and ronadinho, to name a few better.

  11. Why are people under the illusion that all play makers should play down the middle ?
    personally,I think Ozil plays better when the opposition doesn’t know where he is rather than when he has to go through the physical struggle in the middle.
    I don’t know why People associate ozil with through passes.He does play loads of dangerous passes but Even at Madrid,most of his assists were not from through passes.
    Cazorla is actually more of a through pass threat than ozil
    It’s just that ozil is bound to play more dangerous passes.
    Take an example,Chelsea also hide their key play maker (fabregas ) behind a line of willian,Oscar and hazard.this is to give him more time on the ball.
    We can’t hide ozil in behind like Chelsea,but We can hide him on the right flank,where he drifts inwards unnoticed and unmarked to release a pass rather than starting him in the middle then having him drift away from goal to find space

    1. great observation, he was mainly deployed on the right or centrally for real and I think he is a lot better suited to play there as he has more freedom to cut inside and play the pass from his stronger foot. I remember wenger saying that playing on the right pires saw nothing but on the left he saw everything and I think there are similarities with ozil

  12. I like Ozil.
    I like Carzola.
    I like Sanchez.
    I like Ospina.
    I like Le Coq. He is fearless.
    I like…..
    Ooh, am Arsenal fan. I thought I just like the players.

  13. It`s becoming more and more apparent that the two positions that need immediate attention will not be filled this window, that`s a DM and a centre back.
    I look forward to seeing Ozil and Sanchez in the same line up it`s just a shame we can`t find a place for Cazorla (unless out wide) and my favourite Rosicky in the same eleven.
    If Wenger is smart and lucky I see a possible upset in Manchester. 1-2 to the Gunners.

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