The best way for Arsenal to get maximum out of Cazorla and Ozil
Given that he is naturally one of the most two-footed players around and completed over 1,000 final-third passes in the Premier League last season, it will seem foolish to some to take Santi Cazorla out of the centre of the pitch where he is more involved in play and move him into a wide starting berth.
There are obvious drawbacks to pushing Cazorla to a left attacking role, notably his irregularity in tracking back, which threatens to leave the Arsenal full-back caught short in a two-on-one situation.
Furthermore, his natural game is to drop off into space to look for possession, rather than look to burst in behind as most wingers tend to do, something Theo Walcott does incessantly down the other flank.
However, now that Arsenal have emphatically broken their transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil, there is no way the German will not be utilised in his most effective position, which is as a string-pulling number 10.
Ozil’s own assist record is clear proof as to why he should start here, as no player has provided more direct assists in Europe’s top five leagues in the last five seasons.
Meanwhile, Cazorla started from the left effectively against Tottenham, with the big benefits being that his tendency to drift in-field provided space on the overlap for Kieran Gibbs and also gave the opposing midfield an extra player to concern themselves with.
The winger that tries to reach the byline is becoming somewhat of a rarity in the Premier League and Cazorla can follow compatriots David Silva and Juan Mata in terms of influencing play from wider positions.
Playing Cazorla wide additionally prevents the need for either he or Ozil to be shuffled back into a more central midfield role, where Arsenal are already loaded with options such as Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini and the in-form Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal are 17/20 to finish in the top four and should Ozil and Cazorla hit it off in tandem, this could prove to be a very generous price.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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