All Guns Blazing: Ozil’s arrival poses interesting questions for Wenger at Arsenal
Arsenal blogger Alex Bellotti discusses how Arsene Wenger will incorporate the Gunners’ new record signing - and who will make way at Sunderland this weekend.
Two weeks ago we had despair. Last week was something close to ecstasy. Now, in the cold, dark vacuum of an international break, reaction to our new £40million man is still filling back pages because there’s simply nothing else happening.
Hilariously, Madrid’s Facebook page has been full of posts welcoming Bale, only for every single comment to read ‘Ozil’ with lots of unhappy responses.
It seems their business partners aren’t too happy either. After all the talk of a special relationship with Madrid, Tottenham fans have realised their marriage is one of extreme inconvenience – for the Spaniards – and many are even calling for a divorce.
Meanwhile, with Ozil set to nail down the playmaker slot, we are suddenly faced with the possibility of having real, proven quality on the bench as well as on the pitch.
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Regular rotation is something we haven’t seen at Arsenal for a number of years and I do wonder if opposition managers have benefited from knowing exactly how Arsenal would line up.
Suddenly though, Wenger is going to have to answer a number of tasty questions. Does Mathieu Flamini merit a starting berth? If so, does he share that role with Mikel Arteta? Does this mean either Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere has to miss out?
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The former is a particularly interesting one. I’ve long been a fan of Ramsey, and his reinvention as a crucial cog in the engine room has been all the more satisfying because of it.
His energy to track back is one thing, but those late, box-to-box runs off the ball are something no-one else in our team offers.
Yet in a rare example of squad depth, we also have the most exciting youngster in English football returning to fitness and vying for the same spot.
Wilshere in my view lacks the creativity yet to play the No10 role – yet – but he excels in running with the ball in the same way Ramsey does off it. So who gets the nod?
We could use these questions to our advantage – perhaps employing an energetic Flamini-Ramsey pairing for physical away games and a flair-filled Arteta-Wilshere axis at home.
These are just two possible variations, but it show why we should embrace rotation tactically and end our tendency to cram every top talent into the starting XI. And that’s without considering the good it could do to our famous injury list.
Follow me on Twitter @AlexBellotti