The traditional ‘No.10’ has made a strong comeback in the English top-flight this season bar Arsenal.
As players continue to be tormented by the fixtures amongst the pandemic, the playmaking no. 10s have found a way back to stay relevant. Fatigued squads and allowance of more space in the middle of the park has led to their prominence of attacking minder midfielders once again. Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is one of the most decorated number 10s of the last decade but is, unfortunately, missing out on all the fun due to the situation with Arteta.
It seems that the Arsenal boss has been undeterred when it comes to giving him another chance. Ozil has been a great servant to the Gunners but his days have been numbered. A graceful and free-flowing chance creator in his prime, his decline is painful to see for fans that enjoy watching playmakers like him. The number 10 role has not continued to flourish despite being one of the most revered roles and it’s purely due to the rise in the pace and physicality dependence in the game.
Last season, the manager’s preference for structure, hard pressing, and discipline made Ozil’s omission easy to understand. He was a symbol of the indulgence of the final years of Arsene Wenger’s tenure. This season, with Arsenal desperately lacking creativity, Ozil finds his reputation growing.
There are many tactical reasons as to why he is being ignored. The game dynamics have improvised to such an extent that defenders have managed to shut out similar role players. With decreasing space in the hole, number 10s do not find themselves at ease. Mere looking up for vision could cost them dispossession; which has led to either players or the coaches evolving.
So recently viewed as out-dated – even more so than Ozil. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho’s reactive approach with a compressed midblock and quick counterattacks suddenly seems the right way to deal with constantly fatigued players.
The No.10 is dangerous precisely because he is unpredictable in his choices and untrackable in his movements. Some players who have managed to evolve from the regular trequartista position are Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard among the prominent ones. But one thing for sure is that Ozil isn’t making his way back into the 25-man squad of Arsenal anymore.
Image Credit – Mesut Ozil Twitter