Former Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson has suggested bringing outcast Mesut Ozil in from the cold in order to get the Gunners’ front three firing on all cylinders.
As per Sky Sports, Merson has said that Ozil, who has not played a minute all season, offers the ‘only solution’ to getting the most out of Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
He said: “Arsenal’s front three are as good as any in the Premier League, but great attackers rely on service. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not getting the ball you’re not going to score.
“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe have to do everything themselves. Unai Emery has missed a trick with a midfield player. The only solution I see would be to play the front three with Mesut Ozil in the hole behind them.”
TBR’s View – A look at Liverpool shows Merson’s blueprint is too expansive
Merson also bemoans that Arsenal essentially played with three holding midfielders. But look at the European champions, Liverpool, and their central midfielders are similarly functional on paper.
What they do is cover an awful lot of ground and plug the gaps in order to allow the front three to play as high up the pitch as possible.
The fact that Liverpool got stronger once Philippe Coutinho left shows how a playmaker can unsettle the balance of a midfield like that.
Players like Ozil and Coutinho are useful in home matches against deep defences but in the bigger games, greater balance and energy is needed. Playing Ozil every week would perhaps tip the balance and make Arsenal even more open.