In theory, 3-4-3 should be the perfect formation for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. The seven men behind them offer plenty of protection and rather than having to stick to wide or central roles, the inside forward positions allow them to float in between depending on where the space develops – ideal for a playmaker who started his career on the wing in Ozil, and a nomadic forward who likes to cut inward in Sanchez.
Arsene Wenger implemented the system after a harrowing 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace and it’s since produced a run of five wins in six games, including victory over Manchester United in the Premier League and Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final.
Up until last night, however, Sanchez and Ozil had struggled to deliver, despite the system seemingly accommodating for both of their natural games. Indeed, Ozil hadn’t scored or assisted since Arsenal’s first 3-4-3 outing against Boro, whilst Sanchez’s dry spell started one game later after netting against City.
But Arsenal’s talismanic attacking duo finally appeared to settle in the system on Wednesday evening as the Gunners recorded a 2-0 win over Southampton at St. Mary’s, combining excellently for the first goal of the night and producing the level of form you’d expect from the two most expensive players in the club’s history operating in a system that suits them so perfectly.
Indeed, as well as grabbing a goal and assist between them, Ozil racked up a whopping seven created chances, whilst Sanchez produced a staggering eight dribbles. In combination, they also won three fouls, flung three crosses into the box and perhaps most tellingly of their involvement, had 137 touches of the ball – ranking third and fourth respectively throughout the Arsenal team.
The performance provided the blueprint of how Arsene Wenger can get the best out of Ozil and Sanchez long-term and get them operating as closely as possible, something he’s not always managed to do over the last three years. But, should Arsenal continue using 3-4-3 next season? Let us know by voting below…