Tactics Column: New Additions Mean Özil Must Be Given Spotlight In 4-2-3-1


Arsenal have started the season in a new look, 4-1-4-1 formation. Whilst the results have not been the worst, the performances have been far from the spectacular best we’ve become accustomed to as Arsenal fans. With our record £42million signing ousted out to the wing, you have to question why we don’t revert back to a 4-2-3-1.

The simple answer is Arsene Wenger wants to fit in Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey in the same team. Whilst this would be nice, we need to make the most of Mesut Ozil. He’s a special special player who should be the heartbeat of the Arsenal side. As well as this, despite his goals, Ramsey hasn’t been at his best in this new formation. I think he plays better from a deeper role, alongside someone like Arteta. This defensive role doesn’t have to restrict his bursts into the box, and if playing there allows Mesut Ozil to play in his favoured position, it must be done. The big loser will be Jack Wilshere, but he could play in place of Ramsey or Arteta, or even play out wide, he was impressive there on occasions last season.

Ozil’s influence is restricted in the current formation.

With Welbeck now signed, it makes perfect sense to move back to a 4-2-3-1. In comparison to a 4-1-4-1, the former offers more attacking threat from the wings, meaning the importance of a quality playmaker is high. Mesut Ozil was good last season, but not at his world class best. Once Walcott got injured, Ozil often had Giroud as the striker and Wilshere and Cazorla on the wings. There was no players running into space and creating avenues for Ozil to exploit with his pinpoint passing. With Theo returning to fitness, Alexis arriving and Welbeck set to lead the line, Mesut will be drooling.  The prospect of all three players ahead of him making positive runs opens up so much more of Ozil’s game that we didn’t see last season. Despite now having the right players, if he is stuck out on the wing in a 4-1-4-1, his influence would once again be blunted.

Ozil will have more to work with in a 4-2-3-1


Welbeck has a great ability to link up with others, and in a 4-2-3-1, the likes of Alexis and Walcott can rotate and go beyond him. Both Alexis and Walcott hold great attacking threats, in a 4-2-3-1 they will be allowed more attacking freedom. With no world class defensive midfielder signed, I think the approach of ‘we’re gonna score one more than you’ might have to be taken this season. Not only would this formation bring out the best in £42million Ozil, but also £35million Alexis and, as shown last season, Ramsey can still be at his best from a deeper position.

What formation do you think Arsenal should play in? Let us know by commenting below.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for Arsenal news and stats including breaking transfer news.