The news that came to light earlier on Wednesday that Mesut Ozil would be out for three months shook the Arsenal foundations further than it has ever been shaken for sometime. The club’s record signing injury adds more misery to Arsenal’s mounting injury list which keeps growing virtually every week.
While the debate would inevitably continue in respect of what caused the injury, and whether it would have been prevented. Attention now shifts to how other players would fit in to the Arsenal line up in his absence, and what formation Arsene Wenger would adopt in the German’s time on the sidelines.
Prior to his injury, Mesut Ozil featured in six Premier League matches, and the only match he started in his preferred position was the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa where he scored and assisted a goal for Danny Welbeck. The other matches against Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Leicester City, he was deployed on the wings in a 4-1-4-1 formation designed to fit in Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere into the team.
What this means is that Arsene Wenger would have to choose between a 4-2-3-1 formation where Santi Cazorla or Jack Wilshere would play in the hole, and both players have even played there when Mesut Ozil was in the lineup. It further means that Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade Chamberlain would have more time playing in the wings in Ozil’s absence. And besides that, Lukas Podolski could be in to feature more regularly in the coming months depending on whether he sticks to the aforementioned formation or the 4-1-4-1 formation that Arsene Wenger has deployed more frequently this season.
Arsene Wenger would obviously seek a solution internally to plug the hole created by Mesut Ozil’s absence, and baring any injury Jack Wilshere, Oxlade Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla would have huge roles to play, and Aaron Ramsey when he returns from injury.
But the cloud that would still be hovering round Arsenal following this injury to Mesut Ozil is the failure of the club to sign Cesc Fabregas when he became available in the summer.
It makes that decision all the more questionable each passing day. The club’s injury situation was already well documented, and the players that were the reason why Cesc Fabregas was supposedly not signed are facing the prospect of being out for more than half of the season.
It is something that would keep creeping up in respect of why Arsene Wenger failed to sign Cesc Fabregas especially now that most of the club’s central midfielders are out injured. Players of that nature would have easily plugged the hole in Mesut Ozil’s absence.
It is a sad commentary that the club’s attacking hub has gradually been eroded with less than a third of the match played this season when the opposite would have been the case if Cesc Fabregas was signed as another attacking option.