The Germany international thrived in a central role on Saturday as he scored his first Premier League goal of the season and also teed up new signing Danny Welbeck for his first Gunners goal in the 34th minute.
Murphy criticised Arsenal’s continued deployment of the World Cup winner on the flanks and has also insisted that he is more effective in the centre.
Speaking to BBC Sport, he said:
[Özil] came to Arsenal with one of the best assist records in Europe.
The problem is, when he is wide, he expends so much energy he hasn’t got the legs to go forward.
What Özil did against Villa, he ended up in the wide positions because he saw the space. When he starts wide, he gets isolated and trapped.
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He thrives on confidence. The flexibility and variation is crucial for Arsenal to be successful.
Ozil received a lot of criticism from fans and pundits due to his lackluster performance in midweek . The German was played on the wing and offered no defensive protection whatsoever to his fullback. Many called for the World Cup winner to be used in his most effective position, the number ten role, which Wenger decided do to for the trip to Villa Park and the German put in an impressive display.
He provided a pinpoint pass into Danny Welbeck to double the Gunners lead, having opened the scoring himself moments earlier. The goal was exactly what he needed after a week of criticism and questioning of the massive price tag over his head.
His free role allowed him to drift around the final third and help Welbeck in attack as the first two goals showed like he used to for Real Madrid. He repaid Wenger’s faith in him by delivering a sensational performance in the role he wants to be playing in.
The main question remains is whether Wenger will continue to try and blend all of his best attacking midfielders into the starting lineup, or be more pragmatic and rotate within the established formation of last season. The Gunners have strugged to thrive with this season with the 4-1-4-1 formation despite all the big names involved. Ozil needs to be at the forefront, he’s clearly the best No10 in the side. Wilshere should instead be utilized wide if Wenger really is adamant at starting the Englishman most weeks.
Should Wenger continue to play Ozil in the No.10 role? Share your thoughts in the comments below.