One of the best things about having 56437 attacking midfielder’s in the current squad is that it allows us to rotate, to chop and change, to rest players when unfit, or take them out of the limelight when out of form. And that is exactly what needs to be done against Aston Villa.
Both Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil have had poor starts to the season. In the last 2 games against Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, both have looked well off the pace. We have a whole host of attacking midfield options, it is time to use them.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
Seven options for 2 central midfielder positions (note I say central midfield, more on this later). We should rotate against Aston Villa.
Mesut Ozil has not looked the same player since the Munich away leg, where he clearly injured himself in the 1st few minutes and hobbled through to half time. I wonder if he has ever had the opportunity to regain full fitness.
He was rushed back to the first team for the last 4 league games of the season, as well as the FA Cup and then played in all 7 games of the World Cup, over 625 minutes in total.
The World Cup Final was on the 13th July, Mesut Ozil’s 1st game back for Arsenal was 23rd August. Just a 40 day break. He then broke down again in training for Germany, missing their friendly against Argentina and Euro 2016 Qualifying match against Scotland.
Despite the injury, on the resumption of the Premier League, he was straight back into the Arsenal starting 11 for the game against Manchester City.
Mesut Ozil has always been a confidence player. Anyone who has followed his career would know when he is on the top of his game, he is one of the best in the world, but when his confidence is low, his head drops and he doubts himself.
He is clearly not ready to play physically, and mentally he looks shot. By taking him out of the firing line this weekend, it gives him time to recover, both physically and mentality.
ps: I do not accept the “He can’t play out wide” reasoning for his bad form. He won the World Cup playing on the wing, and has played left wing and right wing throughout his career.
As for Aaron Ramsey, he is another one who looks unfit. He was an injury concern against Manchester City, but ended up playing, and repeated the feat against Dortmund mid week. Had he sufficiently recovered? It did not look like it.
The problem we currently have is Arsene Wenger is trying to mould a formation round the players, rather than play the players in a set formation. This has led us to play 4141 to attempt to accommodate Oil, Alexis Sanchez, Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. It has not worked.
Aston Villa should also see is a change of formation. Drop the current 4141 and return to the 4231/433. What this would mean is that one of either Wilshere or Ramsey does not start. Wilshere is in the form of his career, Ramsey looks off the pace. So it is simple, you play your inform, fit players. That is Jack rather than Aaron.
It then works the same for Ozil. He is unfit and out of form. Lets give Santi Cazorla a run in the side. Take Ozil out of the firing lines. Against Aston Villa, I would line up:
Bellerin Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
Ox Cazorla Sanchez
Essentially, you get into a scenario where it’s either Wilshere OR Ramsey; Ozil OR Cazorla, with form and fitness taken into account.
Both Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are top draw players, with the ability to change the game at any point. But they are both clearly out of form. We have other options in the squad, time to use them.