Mesut Ozil insists he is still adjusting to the demands of his new role in Arsene Wenger’s 3-4-3 system but is happy to sacrifice the freedom his permitted in his customary No.10 role for the benefit of the team.
Wenger switched to a three-man defence for the first time in 20 years against Middlesbrough last month following a disastrous run of results which, barring a Liverpool collapse on Sunday, will cost Arsenal Champions League qualification.
Despite that blow, the shift in system has triggered an improved run of results – the Gunners have won seven of their last eight games in all competitions – even though it has meant shunting Ozil out to the right-hand side of a front three.
Mesut Ozil recorded an assist for Alexis Sanchez’s opening goal against Sunderland on Tuesday (Picture: Getty)
Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Sunderland kept alive their slim hopes of Champions League qualification (Picture: Getty)
The Germany World Cup winner is slowly adapting to his new role and put in a brilliant display during Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Sunderland during which he assisted Alexis Sanchez’s opener and set a Premier League record for chances created (12) in a single match.
Arsene Wenger on Mesut Ozil's new role
I think he plays a bit more on the right, but his ball coming inside on his left foot can be deadly
We have seen a few examples. He delivers fantastic passes and I think both of them (Ozil and Alexis Sanchez) can enjoy it.
Speaking ahead of the match, Ozil said: ‘I might not quite have the same freedom that I had as when I played in the No.10. When you’re there, you have the freedom to go everywhere.
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‘In this new system, I need to be on the right a bit more, but that’s something you do for the team. It’s not important what the individual player wants, all that counts is the team.
‘The coach sees me there at the moment and the main thing for me is that I’m on the pitch and can help the team with my performances.’