Why Ozil’s Injury Is A Blessing In Disguise For Arsenal And The Spaniard

With under performing star man Mesut Ozil out for three months with a knee injury, Arsene Wenger finds himself in a very tough situation with a very limited squad to manage. With many Arsenal players out injured or unfit, Wenger has pretty obvious options left for replacements and tactics. Ozil’s like for like replacement in the team is the ever present Santi Cazorla who hasn’t failed to impress over his two seasons at Arsenal. Ozil’s absence leaves Cazorla as the only option for a trequartista, allowing Santi to occupy the void behind Danny Welbeck.

It is often the case with advanced playmakers, those who occupy offensive areas of midfield and dictate play that they struggle when pushed wide. Playmakers like being central, as it is the position where they find most success as their influence on the game grows as they are allowed more freedom. Cazorla in his first season at Arsenal played as the chief playmaker, playing behind Giroud and accumulated 12 goals and 11 assists in the process. Despite Cazorla being in supreme form and fitness, Wenger opted to go for another trequartista, this time a superstar and much high profile in the form of Mesut Ozil last year as Real Madrid went for Bale.

The move for Ozil meant Cazorla either made the bench or the wings. Ozil, obviously considered a better playmaker, enjoyed the main role behind the striker. But as luck has it, Wenger’s ideas were ruined as the season went on. Ozil found it tough to maintain his fitness and consistency while adapting to the nonstop Premier League. After an underwhelming season, Ozil won the World Cup with Germany, where his performances, despite not his usual best, were better than what he does for Arsenal.

His terrible drop in confidence continued this season and unfortunately for Ozil, his knee injury worsens it as he is sidelined for three months. This brings us back to square one where Arsenal have only one prime central attacking midfielder in 29 year old Santi Cazorla. While Santi has been impressive and has adapted very well to the league, Ozil hasn’t, meaning we are forced to think whether the move for the high profile German star was necessary after all.

Temporary Arsenal Line-up: Injuries galore, but more balance?

Arsenal are ruing their luck for the amount of injuries they are having in the team, especially since it is in the start of the season. With 7 matches in the league already played, key defender Laurent Koscielny has had a precautionary leave from international duty because of chronic tendinitis in both Achilles while Calum Chambers has picked up 5 yellows already. Two defenders down, and only two first choice defenders (Mertesacker and Gibbs) are fully fit, Wenger may have to risk playing Nacho Monreal at Centre Back especially as he is returning from a back injury and won’t be fully match fit, if he feels Koscielny needs rest. Youngster Hecter Bellerin is mostly expected to play a game at Right Back spot after which Calum Chambers will take the place.

Despite the defence being in a worrisome state, Arsenal would still manage to field 4 senior defenders in Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Chambers in the coming matches while Bellerin will play only a single match. This of course, if more unfortunate injuries don’t happen.

With Arsenal having Walcott close to full fitness, Ozil, who used to be played on the wings, won’t be missed. Arsenal would be forced to play the duo of Flamini and Wilshere continuously in the heart of midfield due to lack of fit choices until Ramsey returns, but the duo will be well complemented when Cazorla joins them with his flair as well as work rate. The team also has team-player Podolski available for the winger’s spot in case Walcott is rested a bit longer.

We can sense the balance of the team being stronger when without Ozil. Arsenal can play a 4-3-3 with three central midfielders, two natural wingers and Danny Welbeck playing as a center forward. Accumulating Ozil or Cazorla on the wings made Arsenal unbalanced on the pitch, but in times of injury absence, Arsene Wenger can find a team that is balanced with Cazorla dictating play from the centre.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

Twitter Reacts To Walcott’s Return To First Team Training

Is Rooney The Right Man To Play As The No.10 For Manchester United: Do Herrera & Mata Stand A Chance?