German international Mesut Ozil is set to return for Arsenal, but where does he fit in at the Emirates?
Arsenal play host to Stoke City on Sunday, and should see the return of a number of injured players. One in particular may find it difficult to regain his starting place however, and may have to get used to a spot on the bench for a while.
Mesut Ozil has struggled since trading La Liga for the Premier League, and after spending much of the season injured, the former Real Madrid star will be hoping to make more of in impact in the new year.
When you look at the current form of his teammates, however, he may have to prove himself before being given a starting berth once again.
The German star’s preferred role is the No.10, a role in which Santi Cazorla is currently finding his best form once again. The Spaniard has been pulling the strings from midfield, and has chipped in with a number of goals and assists in his last few games. Arsene Wenger would be mad to drop the former Malaga man, but after investing so much in Ozil he may feel he has to include him.
In the past the Frenchman has looked to include both players, with the World Cup winner pushed out wide. With summer signing Alexis Sanchez proving such a superb asset however, as well as the return of Theo Walcott, is there any room for him on the wings?
The pacey Englishman is just returning from injury himself, so for the moment could find his time on the pitch limited and managed carefully. He does however, need to shake off the ring rust after a year out injured, and won’t be able to do that from the bench.
While Ozil is a player capable of moments of magic, he certainly has no divine right to be in Arsenal’s starting XI. The former Galactico may need to prove himself in a number of substitute appearances before being handed a starting spot once again.
If Wenger does decide to put the 26-year-old straight back in, then Cazorla is the most likely candidate to be dropped. It could prove extremely damaging to drop a player while he is in such fantastic form though, and this is certainly a situation that Le Prof needs to manage carefully.
While depth and choice is often a fantastic headache to have, the manager is not known for his rotation. The return of Mesut Ozil may not require a change in formation or personnel, but in fact a change in the way Arsene Wenger manages his team.