In the absence of Mesut Ozil who will Wenger turn to as his short term replacement?
It has been confirmed that German and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is to face a minimum of 6 weeks on the sidelines after picking up a knee injury in last Sunday’s 2-0 loss to league leaders Chelsea. Much has been made of Ozil’s performance this campaign with some calling him lazy and others bemoaning where he has been asked to play by Arsene Wenger. One thing is for certain, he will be a big loss in a very important part of the season. Luckily for Arsenal this is one department in which they are blessed but who should replace Ozil while he begins he rehabilitation.
Cazorla would be many fans choices to step into the breach, he has been a very versatile acquisition since his move from Spanish side Malaga in 2012. The little Spaniard has looked at his best centrally but with the arrival of Ozil last Summer his opportunites in that position have been at a premium but in the German’s absence it could be his time to shine. In the past two games he has operated a little bit deeper and been effective, Cazorla is one of the most industrious and creative players at the club and would be an ideal solution in Ozil’s short term absence.
Wilshere has had an encouraging start to this season, he has looked sharper and appears to be over his niggling injuries that have seen him in and out of the side in recent seasons. In the absence of Aaron Ramsey the onus has been on the 22-year-old to lead and he has done that. It is a big season for Wilshere and no-one understands that more than him, and he has already shown the desire and passion which the Arsenal faithful require. He has been shifted around the Arsenal midfield by Wenger this campaign to try and get balance, Wilshere’s biggest attribute is his quick passing and when he is on his game he can be deadly around the opponents 18-yard box. Wilshere showed how good he can be in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City earlier this season, where he ran Arsenal’s midfield and scored a sumptuous chip over England goalkeeper Joe Hart. If he is given a chance he can be a real asset in the support striker role in which Ozil normally operates.
Since arriving from Barcelona the Chilean has been moved from playing as a winger, then a striker and then back to a winger. Sanchez has been a bit hot and cold thus far in his Arsenal career which is to be expected, a new league and a new team along with a new style of play. The attacking midfielder is starting to look good, he was impressive in the 4-1 win against Galatasary in the Champions League and tirelessly worked against Chelsea. He played a multitude of positions at Barcelona, one of which was just behind the Striker, he has also operated there for his country. He is quick, a good passer and has a good eye for goal, something that would be my one major criticism of Ozil, he doesn’t get enough goals. Sanchez has got two in his first six games for Arsenal which is a good start all things considered. Once he has settled he will be an invaluable asset, he is at his best when he drops deep and runs at defenders which could make him ideal to replace Ozil.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has spent most of his time at Arsenal as a winger but he definitely has the qualities of a good ‘no.10′, on the odd occasion he has operated centrally he has been immense. Cast your mind back to the second leg Champions League tie against AC Milan. Arsenal 4-0 down from a terrible first leg performance, Wenger decides to play Oxlade-Chamberlain in central midfield. Unfortunately for Arsenal they only managed to win 3-0 and went out 4-3 on aggregate. The star of the show was Chamberlain, who ran midfield, was a constant threat and covered every blade of grass that night. Many feel that he is wasted on the wing and would be perfect for a central midfield role on a permanent basis, however, this doesn’t seem to enter into Wenger’s thought process as he has been played predominantly on either wing.
Rosicky is made for the supporting striker role, he has played there an endless amount of times for Czech Republic and started his career there for Sparta Prague and eventually Borussia Dortmund. He actually started his Arsenal career in a similar role but due to injuries and formation changes he found himself playing more on the wing. In recent seasons Wenger has decided to use him more sparingly due to his age, but he is still an asset. He has been used centrally but in more of a withdrawn role which doesn’t really suit his style of play. If given an opportunity in a more advanced role he has the qualities to thrive in that position.
It is not all doom and gloom for Arsenal in Ozil’s absence, there are many options at Wenger’s disposal. This may be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal who, at times, look unbalanced and jaded.
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