Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla Prove that Coexistence at Arsenal is Possible


Since Mesut Ozil’s dynamic return, he and Santi Cazorla have been playing a little bit of a rotating game on the pitch. Whoever can drift into and maintain control of the center of the pitch usually controls the game whereas whoever gets forced out wide tends to fade.

Well, against Middlesbrough, we got a taste of what the two can do together.

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Together, the midfield duo absolutely controlled the game. Arsenal as a team had 896 touches of the ball, Ozil and Cazorla had over 25% of those touches with 244.

Mesut Ozil completed 92.8% of his passes, and Cazorla wasn’t far behind with 91.2%. When it comes to key passes, Arsenal had 16 as a team. Mesut Ozil had a massive 7 of those and Cazorla contributed another 2.

Then there’s long ball accuracy, a stat that isn’t expected to be too terribly high. Cazorla was 5 for 6 and Ozil was 1 for 1.

On the ball, they were just as good as distributing the ball. Cazorla was never dispossessed of the ball and Ozil was only robbed twice.

What I’m trying to say is, these two can work together and when they do, the results are fantastic.

Mesut Ozil is simply oozing with confidence. He had an assist robbed from him when Alexis took an ill-advised extra touch, but this is the Mesut Ozil that Arsene Wenger paid top dollar for. He’s starting to pay dividends. Since coming back from injury, he simply hasn’t had a bad game, no matter the opponent.

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And Santi Cazorla has always been a rock for Arsenal. Nearly never injured, his consistency is unquestionable.

Seeing the chemistry starting to develop between these too and even further with Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, is incredibly entertaining to watch and given enough time to coalesce, Ozil and Cazorla could find themselves as the dual creative-hub of one of the best offenses in world football.

The only thing that we need is a string of good health. These players have too much quality not to perform, but they have to have time to play together and get a rhythm in the Arsenal system. If they have that, they sky is the limit.

I realize it was only Middlesbrough, but say what you want, they beat Chelsea. Teams like Middlesbrough are supposed to get handled by teams like Arsenal, but in that regard, Middlesbrough have acted out of character by beating Chelsea and Arsenal have been acting out of character all year by being Arsenal (inconsistent and frustrating).

So even though it was “just Middlesbrough,” seeing Arsenal completely dominate possession behind their insanely creative midfield duo was an inspiring sight to see, especially given the hesitance of whether or not Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla could play together on the same pitch.

Hopefully, this result means that they can.

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