At the start of last season, Arsène Wenger attempted to play Mesut Özil wide to accommodate all of his central midfielders.
It didn’t really work. Özil is often dangerous in wide areas, but that’s only because he starts from the middle of the pitch. From there, he can drift into any spaces that appear and manages to give defences huge issues.
When he started wide, however, Özil’s drifting was usually into already congested central zones and his game was stifled. Unfortunately, with a number of injuries, Wenger may have to play the German wide again.
Aaron Ramsey had become the first choice right midfielder at the club, but pulled up injured against Bayern Munich just over a week ago. Wenger has now lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, so options are limited.
With Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere already out, Joel Campbell will probably be given his first run in the team but could Özil be used out wide?
The last available senior player not currently starting games is Mathieu Flamini. He can’t play in Özil’s number 10 role, but could play in the middle of the midfield alongside Santi Cazorla and ahead of Francis Coquelin. Arsenal ended the 2-1 win against Everton with those three in the middle and Özil out wide, so we may well see it again from the start of a game soon.
Over the next seven days, trips to Swansea City and Bayern Munich await. Both sides – though to completely different levels – like to have the ball, so Wenger may just opt for Özil and Alexis Sánchez out wide to launch counter attacks. Watch this space.