The Santi Cazorla-Mesut Ozil partnership: You ain’t seen nothing yet

Super Santi ready to move into another gear?!

Super Santi ready to move us into another gear?!

Over the past few weeks I have read various posts and had numerous discussions about how Santi (last season’s best player) and Ozil (our new record signing) would play together in the Arsenal team when they are both fit and firing. This is a discussion based on the fact that when both of them are fit and in form, they are both indispensable. Many have argued that one might have to step down for the other, while others believe they can be played side by side. I’m here to give you my take on things.

Let me begin by declaring that Mesut and Santi can, and probably will, be played together to form a midfield that can be arguably in the same league as Barcelona’s, once they gel. How? You may ask. Well, it’s actually rather simple. Santi will be played on the left with Ozil in that number 10 role. Many people have argued that moving Santi to the left takes some sting out of him, but these are people who I’m beginning to think don’t watch Arsenal too keenly.

The movement in our midfield is incredible (and so is Ozil’s). You see, the German is not like the Cesc Fabregas/Paul Scholes kind of player who will occupy the middle of the park and dominate it quite statically. He is more of the Cazorla kind of player who will pop up anywhere he will find space to cause damage. Case in point, on his debut, his assist came from the left. Both chances he created for Theo were from the middle. Against Napoli, he assisted from the right.

This typifies his game. He moves all over the pitch.

This is perfect because Santi is the same and this means that he may start from the left, but during the game you will definitely see a lot of interchange and by the end they will both have played everywhere. It makes us even more potent because they will share the creative burden, and it is likely that they will be even more prolific goal scorers because they give each other the freedom to get into dangerous positions.

This combination has the potential to be devastating. It could make us unplayable simply, because having two players of that kind of ilk play together could mean that we dominate games, sometimes without even trying.

Add Ramsey, Theo and Flamini to that and you realize that this form we’ve seen of late is still second gear. Once Theo begins scoring, Ramsey/Flamini keep up their form, and even possibly improve, and Santi and Ozil click, we will turn up the heat for sure.

With that midfield, Theo can occupy the CF position even more during games because of the license to roam he will be given by his midfielders. I know Santi isn’t exactly match fit but I’d still like to see him link with Ozil on Saturday.

Written by: Marcus.

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55 Responses to The Santi Cazorla-Mesut Ozil partnership: You ain’t seen nothing yet

  1. Ra says:

    Great article. Couldn’t agree more.
    My dream XI when everybody is fit:

    Yes,I know Jack isn’t in and no I don’t think that’s a mistake, he hasn’t palyed well enough to justify a starting berth. TBH only think I was unsure of was whether to include Rosicky ahead of Theo. Rosicky offers so much,keeps the ball ticking-over and drives our play forward with great speed and accuracy and is much more intelligent “footbalistically” (AVB refrence there) than Theo, and Jack is quite simply not better than TR7 out-wide.
    Imagine our bench…Fabianksi/Jenko/TV5/Rosicky/Nacho/Jack/Ox/Podolski/Bendtner/Sanogo/Diaby (one day)

  2. Gerry says:

    I missed the New Post mark – so here is one I posted earlier:

    Well here is something that will interest those who would rather read about things football. A very very good article on Nicky B.
    See if it changes your opinion?

  3. Gerry says:

    And here is the other one:

    Oh dear – Probert is the referee. He is the one with a big bias for Norwich, and a big bias against Arsenal. Playing a twelve man team again??

  4. TheGhGooner says:

    Nice piece. love it!!!

  5. Ra says:

    May have come across very anti-Theo. Not the case,still in my starting XI coz his speed alone puts opposing defenders on the back-foot and oezil and santi will find his runs behind with ease. Theo will also get and create more goals and 1st assists. (2nd assists is the pass before the assist-OG,Jack and Rosicky get a lot of those.)

  6. ARSEbabe says:

    I agree wit RA 11. .I want the same 11 to be against Dortmund…

  7. yes…but what about resting key players for Tuesdays big match-up?

  8. Antonio says:

    Good one marcus.what am waiting to see is playin rosicky on the right then move theo upfront.if he doesnt score with all that service then hes crap as a 5pence for the weekend…
    per,ramsey to get much needed the 2nd half AW can rest ozil n giroud n bring on gnabry n bendtner.

  9. Hello Marcus..fellow gooners

    An absolute gem of an article Marcus!! top stuff

    ‘the German is not like the Cesc Fabregas/Paul Scholes kind of player who will occupy the middle of the park and dominate it quite statically’…couldn’t put it more perfectly..Ozil is more of an ‘instigator’ as opposed to a ‘dictator’..ghosting into all areas of the pitch meaning marking him is painfully impossible..combine Ozil’s supreme movement with Santi’s drifting into the midfield and you can only drool on this combination!!

    I think Theo will be the last piece in our ‘three’ upfront as his pace and directness will be key in stretching the defenders further creating even more space that Santi and Ozil will use to devastating effects

    Exiting times ahead and can’t wait for everyone to be fit and raring to go!!

  10. Gerry says:

    Now to the current post.

    My argument against the the inclusion of Santi Cazorla – re the previous post – was based more on who else is playing.

    There is no doubt that the Napoli game represents our best form not just this season, but for quite a while. And like you say, the first half in particular, was based on fast movement and quick passing, and players popping up all over the place. So it worked, not just well, but brilliantly.

    From the previous post, both author and most comments seemed to be content that it would still work if you took away a key element i.e Tomas.Rosicky?

    Most replaced with a player or players that have that tendency to want to attack down the middle? That will play to Norwich’s strength. Not to mention the better teams we have yet to meet.

    Exploit the use of our wing-backs is one way of getting players out wide, but it does expose us to the counter attack. In the Napoli game that was nullified to a large extent by the work of Flamini and Arteta..If you drop one of those and have Ramsey there, or you take out Rosicky to accommodate Santi you lose that instant push forwards from our half. Even playing a bit rusty I still think his presence, and ability to switch play was key.

    In essence, there should be no problem with Santi playing with Ozil, they are both intelligent footballers, but who else plays is more important. Flamteta? Gnabry for the absent Walcott and keep Jenks from being too gung ho down the line, if Sagna is kept back for Dortmund?

    It is probably not going to happen in Saturday’s match, as Santi will likely as not, come on for Ozil late on? Rosicky is match fit and more the likely starter? Plus, Ramsey and Rosicky could give the single DM more cover if needed, otherwise you have Ozil and Santi tending to avoid making tackles? Alternatively, JW comes in as B2B player, and that adds more bodies in the middle of the park?

    Best left for the Prof to decide, but I would be happier if he would break old habits and make changes at half time if something is not working?

  11. Marcus says:

    That’s my starting line up too..And with Jack, TR7, Arteta, Ox and Pod waiting on the wings, we have a team that can go the distance.

  12. Marcus says:

    You make good valid points. Note that rather than a starting 11, we currently possess a starting 18 meaning our bench has players who have are in all aspects, starters. This means that depending on who we are playing and where, it is unlikely that the same 11 will play majority of the games. For instance when we play Dortmund away, I expect Flamteta to be deployed.

    Now, there’s something you’ve said in your comment that i respectfully completely disagree with. You said,” If you drop one of those and have Ramsey there, or you take out Rosicky to accommodate Santi you lose that instant push forwards from our half.” If you’ve watched Ramsey this year, you know that that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Ramsey has done it all this season.

    But like I said earlier, you do make valid points.

  13. Marcus says:

    If I were Theo, I would concentrate on movement and finishing. Even from Ozil’s day 1 at Arsenal (which didn’t include Santi) he saw that he’s going to get chances tenfold compared to last year. He better work on taking them.

  14. Marcus says:

    Sedric Gatezs (@VinAtticus),
    I’m guessing that Wenger’s strategy may be to kill off the game early so as to be able to take them off earlier.

  15. James Bond says:

    nice one @ Marcus

    all that is jolly good in theory , however , what if they end up taking each others space or come in each others way ? i’m expecting that to happen a lot more in the early days but once the understanding is there, then no doubt it will look bloody marvelous – guess what i’m trying to say is , the more they train and play together the better the understanding develops…..

    i’m fully expecting them to have gelled when we play man utd away though.

  16. James Bond says:

    stop the camera, stop the press, stop bloody everything –


    re- Dortmund, i expect AW to use the Flamteta partnership and Rosicky there , so what we see tomorrow in the starting 11 might not be what we use in Europe…i expect to see Gnabry starting tomorrow along with Rosicky, with Santi coming off the bench – in short, the players that come off the bench tomorrow are likely to start on tuesday.

  17. James Bond says:

    Probert ? oh bugger

    thanks for pointing that one out @ Gerry

    so we best kill this game in the first half then and make sure KOC is a bit more street smart tomorrow…

  18. Mike says:

    007 – for dortmund – you expect AW to run with flamini and arteta behind ozil, with Rosicky wide? I’m pretty sure i’m not interpreting that correctly.

    no problem playing rosicky wide against BD, but why exclude rambo? (in for arteta, with flamini infront of the back 4 – has easily been our most effectiving combination)

    Seperate point – lining up Santi, Ozil, and Rosicky behind giroud is interesting, but i’d be worried about our speed/counter. i may be alone in this.

  19. Afternoon Slimey Camel Toes. 😆

    Will be back later, but just popped in to say, I`m not a religious sort of person, but today on TalkCOOKIE, Durham will be interviewing……..GOD !. So take that, all the Total bastardos who call it talkSHITE !. Blasphemers the lot of you !. Here`s a link and GOD will arrive at any time he likes between now and 7pm.

    Here`s a link.

  20. Gerry says:

    TCM – He is on the BBC tomorrow lunchtime … So I will remain a Total Bastardos 😀

  21. Thanks Marcus Monster.

    I hope all the hype about these two will be just as good on the pitch as it is on paper !. My cockie is dribbling at the thought of it……good to have VCC there catching it !. hahaha

    Oh my GOD…….GOD is on the radio now !. Quick, click my link !.

  22. He sounds like a cross between Total and Sshteve McClarensh !.

  23. Marcus says:

    I doubt it. If we were talking about two strikers, maybe. But two midfielders, of their quality nonetheless, I find very hard. Remember what makes them so good is mainly their intelligence. I doubt they’d be such a problem. I could be wrong though.

  24. James Bond says:


    i’m Expecting AW to stick to the Napoli formula , why fix something when it’s not broke and allows us to boss teams from our midfield by playing a 4-5-1 considering no Theo Walcott ?

    no, i didn’t exclude Ramsey, i would be a fool to do that since has earned the right to be the first player selected on current form – however, my hint was more towards Santi being the likely one on the bench ?

    it’s a very nice selection dilemma to have none the less .

    on your separate point, then you make a good point – besides TW, Rosicky and Giroud combo works really well for me, they had a lot of fun during pre-season and that is another reason why i want Rosicky starting more games or playing more games this season, their chemistry and combo on the pitch is quite good and in the absence of TW in particular, you are not alone with that triangle behind Giroud – and with the likes or Arteta and Ramsey behind them.

  25. VCC says:

    Nice post Marcus…Sure they can play together. Both exceptional footballers and highly intelligent. These types can play anywhere and be dangerous.

    Missed the Talkshite interview with God…..What was the content?

  26. What was the content ?
    Well seeing as you and Gerry are Blasphemers about the mighty talkSPORT…the biggest sports radio station in the world….one which, whether good or bad gives Arsenal probably more air time than most of our competitors…has the “Daily Arsenal”….has interviews with Arsenal legends etc…well you can wonder !. If you wasn`t busy putting your dementia cock in compost made from the “shite” from your colostomy bag in your Blue Peter greenhouse, you could have listened !. God is very angry with you !. hahaha

  27. VCC says:

    Cockie………. 😉

  28. What do you think, Smegmathons !.

    Not sure about GG !.

  29. VCC says:

    Cockie, …..Adrian Durham knows Arsenal fans are arguably the main stay of his listeners so he continues to wind them (and you ) up.

    By winding people up he gets more hits and that’s all he is interested in.

    Just listen to that Cretan Brazil in the mornings……NEVER has a good word about Arsenal…..even when we are currently TOTL.

    Hawksby and Jacobs….Spurs and Chelsea supporters are close behind, spouting on about the Blue and White of London.

    The only presenter worth listening to is that new guy who comes on after Nutty Brazil.

    Granted its a predominantly football based radio station, but if you get offended (as I do) when I hear blatant abuse about Wenger and Arsenal I choose to turn off.

  30. VCC says:

    Like the video Cockie,,,,,,,,,,But he is way off the mark with GG.

    Unlike many other professional people he had the miss fortune of getting caught taking a bung. Every man has his price. He got unlucky.

    But to class him a Judas, never in my book.

    The other four couldn’t argue with. ALL judas to me. Hate to even look at em or even put their name in print.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Many thanks for the post Marcus. You are quickly becoming the blog writer who best captures the here and now/what is on fellow bloggers minds.

    Fully agreed about Santi playing left mid and Ozil in the hole with licences to interchange. The sooner they play together the better. Rosicky is ideal to be replacement for either of them, but just hasn’t got the stamina and body like Cazorla and Ozil to do it week in week out.

  32. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible people are when they let Durham wind them up ( and I`m not one of them ). I think he`s quite funny, so that’s a good start in my book.
    Hawksbee and Jacobs seem to talk a lot about Arsenal for a Chav and Spud and I like nothing better than to listen to Jacobs crying in his mic` after a Chav loss.
    Murray and friends has two Gooner supporters as guests every week.
    The Saturday warm up has a Gooner as a co presenter and then there`s the Romford Pele !.
    John Cross, Mat Scott, Tom Watt and numerous Arsenal celebs every week.
    Rumour has it they are going to change it to ….talkARSENAL !.
    Every man and his dog jump on the bandwagon with the unimaginative saying of talkSHITE. Glad that my imagination stretches a bit further than that !. Never one to conform !. hahaha

  33. Vics
    I think the ArsenalTV bloke put GG on there just because he went to manage the Spuds !. I like to think GG, apart from winning the mickey mouse league cup, helped in their downward steady demise !.

  34. jnyc says:

    Great post Marcus. Always enjoy ur opinions. I agree about how interchangeable and versatile our players are. That is thanks to skill and Arsenes coaching.
    i think santi will probably get some time to play saturday, to get back up to speed and fitness. But i really hope we use some of our rested players like rosicky, flamini arteta, gnabry, wilshire— to get some rest for Ozil and rambo especially.

    its not about saving them for Dortmund, just want to keep them healthy and rotated for the long title challenge. We cant be afraid to rotate our best players against any team, because we are deep in talent, and our guys merts, ozil, Ramsey,giroud, and often Santi get over-played in internationals.

  35. Marcus says:

    VCC and TA,
    Many thanks..

  36. James Bond says:

    great game in italy – Roma vs naples

    and guess what

    CLOSE! – Roma 0-0 Napoli

    Roma should be ahead. Two great chances for the Giallorossi in quick succession go begging. Firstly, Daniele De Rossi climbs above the Napoli defence to plant a free header straight at Pepe Reina. Then Gervinho races clear of the visiting defence only to skew his sliced shot horribly wide. Seen that scenario plenty of times before at the Emirates haven’t you Arsenal fans?


  37. James Bond says:


    regardless of how intelligent or how good you are, you still need to work well as a part of a team and that can only happen with more training and playing together.

    just like you , i doubt if that will happen, however, i also said that i don’t expect them to start dazzling from tomorrow , i am going to give them a couple of weeks before i can expect to see some fantastic stuff by both.

    my way of saying, it will work but let’s not expect a lot in a short period of time.

  38. proudgooner says:

    Good post Marcus,
    I agree with basically all you said on Cazorla-Ozil . It will be very interesting i think Wenger or i know he is well aware of us fans itching to see this in action, he said today don’t expect to much from the players returning instead watch how they play as a team and develop which is probably a good idea.
    Still that all said i cant wait to see Cazorla back tomorrow , i like many others have commented would like to Rosicky play too, he is very important to us he deos bring something to the team that no one else does.
    I don’t think Wenger has had so many great options to play at Arsenal ever the midfield has just become amazing the different ways we can set-up its a credit to him and give us a rel chance to win the title.
    i found the talk sport clip i have not heard it yet but will do, i have heard DB10 say he would like to work at the club again in a few years 🙂

  39. proudgooner says:

    I am going for a bold 4-0 win for us tomorrow. What your predictions gooners??

  40. proudgooner says:

    Bould even

  41. James Bond says:

    3-1 for me, however, i would love a 3-0 😉

  42. James Bond says:

    worth a watch !

  43. James Bond says:

    seems like napoli are going to lose tonight, 2-0 already to Roma

  44. Ra says:

    Beginning to think Napoli are not as frighteningly good as intially thought when UCL draw was made;but obviously still a good team.
    But to more pressing issues and Flamini’s 4 yellow-cards and 1-away from suspension. This sounds like a weird thing to say but I hope Flamini gets a very late yellow tommorrow v Norwich. This is why: next week we “only” play Crystal Palace so he’d be supended for that which is not disastrous with all due respect to Palace. He would then have a clean slate and wouldn’t miss any of our games v Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd, Saints which is key. (Unless ofcourse he picked up a red which we can’t legislate for) Now,Mourinho has (allegedly) done this before with Pepe and Ramos where he basically instructed them to pick-up yellows at end of a convincing 1st leg win,thereby missing 2nd leg but starting next round with a clean slate. I don’t think of Wenger is of that ilk but Flamini himself is a master of the dark arts…also,he will probably pick-up a yellow anyway by default 🙂

  45. James Bond says:


    you’re not the first one to say that 😉 good on you for saying it though – and we are on the same page.

    since we are getting a biased ref tomorrow, i hope it’s just a yellow for him and nothing more.

  46. geoffchase says:


    My quick several pence…

    a. I think BD will see a repeat lineup of Napoli all healthy, with Cazorla to start tomorrow to rest someone and perhaps Arteta also.

    IMO, if we cannot take the Norwiches of the world with a few “lesser” replacements like that then… Ie rest for those coming off Intl duty. So, you could easily see Cazorla start with a mid-to-late Ozil and Arteta start with a late Ramsey

    b.Yes, JB and we should kill off Norwich early either way.. Should, repeat should… IF we do some rotation now, we still dont miss much. No reason we cannot win with Santi starting tomorrow to get some game and being replaced with Ozil who likely still needs a touch of rest.

    Could happen, could not..

    c. A late yellow and no more to Flamini would be good. The fifth is going to happen so why not tomorrow before CP next week.

    Overall, nice selection problems for the first time in a very long time.

    d. I would note then that if, hopefully not, OG were out, we could in a pinch, all healthy as now or nearly so, go 4-6-0 (or really (4-2-4-0) with::

    Sagna – Koz-BFG – Gibbs
    Theo – Santi-Ozil – Ramsey

    And with that off to dinner..

    cheers — jgc

  47. geoffchase says:

    Oh and

    jgc-damus says 2-0 if we rest/rotate a bit … 3-0 if we dont…

    cheers — jgc

  48. James Bond says:

    nice one, JGC

    good to see you back

    and guess what ?

    DIABY IS INJURED AGAIN – out till march

  49. James Bond says:

    some more bad news :

    Wenger expects Lukas Podolski to be back by the end of November, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to return in December and Yaya Sanogo “could be the earliest one which could be mid-November.”

    end of November for Poldi ? ? ?

    kill me

  50. geoffchase says:


    Injuries are what they are! Some take longer and/or aggressive efforts to get back take a toll. Win some / lose some. Diaby is also maybe not surprising given that ACLs are notorious for needing revision surgery. Not all the time but often enough..

    cheers — jgc

  51. James Bond says:

    i guess, it’s safe to assume , Poldi’s loss is Santi’s gain as well as Ryo’s

    Chamberlain’s loss is Gnabry’s gain

    i was really expecting both our wide players to be before the next international break, arghhhh

    so much for having nice selection “headaches” ehhhhhhh

  52. James Bond says:


    be that as it may but look, most people say that it’s our bad luck and i don’t believe it’s nothing to do with bad luck when you look at the injury table, year in year out – we are number 1

    why ?

    it’s nothing to do with luck if it’s a regular occurrence – i point the finger at our medical team

    i have very strong opinions about our medical team and maybe it will make for a good discussion for the next interlull, until then, i will reserve my opinions

    this is bonkers, really

  53. oz gunner says:

    great post Marcus. Those two together will be magicians at work. With other player I’d worry about them getting in each others way but not these two. Both settled in to the team quickly and when you’re that good it should (and will be effortless). Those two together = fluidity at its finest!

    @ BJ

    shocking news in regards to our injuries. Many tipped Ox to have a massive year. As you said though it’s a big chance for gnabry and Ox will just have to have a big second half of the year.

    I agree, the medical department leaves a lot to be desired. I used to think it all came down to luck, but seeing what my aussie rules team has accomplished with the inclusion of one guy has changed my opinion. We went from injuries constantly to number one in the league for 3 years running for player availability (including 1 year with only one soft tissue injury, which is unheard of) Sort it out medical team!!!

    I think it also comes down to managing expectations. We always hear “player x is ahead of schedule and is only a few weeks away (theo/pod)” then a few weeks later podolski is still two months away. I wish they’d let us know properly because EVERY injury at arsenal appears to have a set back. It puts the boot into the medical department a bit more.

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