Wenger is out so Arsenal Fan TV are happy again, and now it’s time for the Gunners to build the team around the best chance creator in the world; Mesut Özil.
For me, it’s quite obvious. Özil has been a dividing figure since he signed from Real Madrid on deadline day in the summer of 2013, but he is definitely the best player in that squad. Build a team around him.
He’s a player that’s only as good as his teammates make him look. He might be the best creator in the world, but he has Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi finishing his chances, and someone like Kevin de Bruyne has Sergio Aguëro, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sané. That’s why Özil only had eight assists this season compared to de Bruyne’s sixteen.
Player A: 0.16 expected goals per 90 minutes, 0.38 expected assists, 0.54 xG+A
Player B: 0.18 xG per 90, 0.38 xA, 0.56 xG+A
[close your eyes, stand on your head, sit back down, drink a glass of water, call your loved ones]
Player A: Kevin De Bruyne
Player B: Mesut Ozil
— Ryan O’Hanlon (@rwohan) 13 May 2018
Let’s talk some tactics, then.
When you build around Özil, you need runners around him, and link-up play from your striker. Also, all of these players need to be good finishers (I’m looking at you, Welbs). Here’s how it would look.
The 4-2-3-1 system suits him best, as this formation provides wingers and a striker, leaving the number ten to pull the strings in attack. Arsenal have played this formation a lot over the last years, so going back to this shouldn’t be a problem.
Arsène Wenger experimented with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing as an inside left winger and Alexandre Lacazette as the striker, which seemed to be working really well as both of them were scoring at ease in that set-up, assisting each other often too.
As the number ten, Özil would have the ball at his feet a lot. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang can run in-behind on the wings, while Lacazette could either link up or make runs in-behind as well. Hand Mesut the keys to the attack in this formation, and good things will happen, trust me.
The holding midfielders lack defensive work rate but are good going forward. This could be an area to improve on, but the transfer window will be discussed in a later post.
In defence, not much has changed, except for Sead Kolasinac replacing Nacho Monreal. Kolasinac is the better player in my opinion but has had some struggles settling into English football in his first year at the club. He should be able to push Monreal out of the side from next season on.
I’m not saying I should be the next Arsenal manager, but if that position is still open, you know where to find me, Stan Kroenke.