In aftermath of Saturday’s 4-1 win at Stoke City, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for playmaker Mesut Ozil who scored a fantastic goal, courtesy of a perfect slide-rule pass from Alexis Sanchez.
The German international hasn’t escaped his critics this season but showed his quality at the bet365 Stadium and is enjoying a new role in a new Arsenal system. Ozil has scored and created 15 goals in 31 Premier League appearances, three of which have come in the previous four weeks.
Adopting a 3-4-2-1 system, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil operate in a more central role at the two players behind the lone striker and are given freedom to drift and make space to create chances. Against Stoke, Ozil latched onto a defence-splitting through ball from Sanchez and chipped over goalkeeper Jack Butland into the empty net. His manager has demanded more of the same.
“That’s what you want from him. I think that he has blossomed in this position now and overall he enjoys it. I must say, individually when the confidence is high in the team, you see that all the players play well,” said Wenger on Arsenal.com. Ozil previously looked laboured in games and was criticised for a lack of output and effort. But he’s since been rejuvenated with a new role on the field and has regained his confidence too.
Arsenal have two Premier League games remaining before their FA Cup final, and given their two most expensive players are shining in a new role, it’s likely Wenger will retain the system for the rest of the campaign.