THE AFTERMATH of Arsenal’s disappointing display against Manchester City has rightly centred around the disappointment of the early injuries and the walking accident that is David Luiz.
But also, not surprisingly Arteta’s somewhat surprising team selection for such a tough test of his squad.
Not only were fans and pundits alike surprised at the exclusion of Alexandre Lacazette and Dani Ceballos from the starting 11 but obviously the most consternation was caused by the news that Mesut Ozil, although fit, had not even made the match squad.
The bemusement and speculation levels were raised, and the clarity not helped by the coach’s post-match briefing at which he confirmed Oil’s exclusion was purely tactical.
Of course, Arteta’s press conference was unsurprisingly tight lipped but the exclusion of the German from the start for tactical reasons might have been accepted, indeed logical, but to not even have him on the bench suggests something deeper.
In my preview I had speculated at a 4-3-3, over 4-2-3-1 to pack the midfield might have been sensible and with Willock selected over Ozil, this could have been the case.
The reality, however, was that Arsenal seemed to still be set up as a 4-2-3-1 , with the youngster, barely in favour pre-lockdown, taking the German’s No10 role.
Again, a higher work rate, and tracking back ethos might explain that decision – but it does not justify the omission of such a creative impact option from the bench.
The whole picture is muddied further when you consider how well Arteta’s knows Ozil’s abilities and given he played him continuously from December to March.
It certainly appeared before the break that having been used sparingly by Unai Emery and even Freddie Ljungberg, the marmite playmaker, who earns a reported £300,000 a week, had the trust of his Spanish coach.
What then has changed from March to June that has seen such a fall from favour and what does it mean for Arsenal and Ozil from here on in?
The player himself has continually professed to be happy in London and declared his intention of seeing out his contract, which expires next summer.
He has been out of favour previously, but one sensed he felt he would outlast Emery and be integral to an incoming manager.
Under Arteta, Ozil had been prominent but if last night’s selection is an indicator of the future then both club and player have a problem.
Certainly, Arsenal have a fading asset, past his brilliant peak, and if he is not be a regular starter he can only be a huge drain on the resources of a club, already deprived of Champions League income.
However, the club offered Ozil his outlandish contract, and even though it was under a previous regime, they must honour it.
Not playing him may not encourage him to seek a move and even if he were to do so, they only clubs that could potentially afford his wages would not be interested.
So, it seems Arteta and Arsenal might have decided to look to the future and plan to climb back to the top using a self-sustaining model, that combines our exciting young players with carefully scouted affordable future stars, to be moulded by our coaching staff.
Much may be determined by the club’s decision on captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whether they can justify offering another older player a similar contact to Ozil’s.
If they do, we are in for a summer of substantial change, with may comings and goings, with high wage-under performers being replaced with potential to be honed.
Among the incoming will be a new alternative style creative midfielder.
The days the old-style passing Number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 look to be on the wane and Ozil may be the fall guy as Arteta looks to refashion his squad for the future.
The creativity maybe coming more from the wider berths or it may be through and 8 style central midfielder who can break the lines and create not only with exquisite passing but also by dribbling and beating a man.
Whether this is our won Emile Smith-Rowe, starring at Huddersfield or an Orkun Kochu style signing, remains to be seen.
For what it is worth, with no malice towards Ozil, if this is the future and the style change planned, I am and have been for some time in favour.
*Follow Dave Seager on Twitter, here…
By: Jack Figg
Title: Marmite Ozil may be as outdated as the 4-2-3-1 formation and no longer fits in at Arsenal as Arteta looks to future
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/11896869/ozil-formation-arsenal-arteta/
Published Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2020 17:00:37 +0000