The Arsenal legend believes he knows the reason why the Germany international has hit a rich vein of form in front of goal in recent weeks
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has revealed the secret behind Mesut Ozil’s rich vein of form in front of goal.
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The German World Cup winner has scored six goals for the Gunners so far this term, including a first career hat-trick against Ludogorets in the Champions League.
And Henry believes the redeployment of Alexis Sanchez as a central striker has been beneficial for Ozil.
“It’s difficult to compare players,” the Frenchman said at a Puma event in Kolkata, when asked whether there were similarities between Sanchez’s positional switch and his own upon joining Arsenal in 1999.
“I don’t like to compare players. Every player does his own thing. The game has evolved.
“By myself, I always said in the past two years that Sanchez could be used as an option as a centre-forward. He’s finally playing as a centre- forward. He does it for Chile. So it’s not something that he doesn’t know how to do.
“He did it for Udinese also in Italy and does it ever so well. When you have a guy who as a No.9, the way he puts pressure, the way he moves, his vision for the ball, that creates a lot of holes for Ozil. That’s why Ozil is scoring a lot of goals – off the movement of Alexis Sanchez.
“Ozil can now go and make those runs as a No.10. Theo [Walcott] is scoring a lot of goals also because there’s a lot of movement. I think Arsene [Wenger] did it pretty well and I think the reason why Arsenal are doing well so far during this season is because Alexis is playing up there and making all those movements to create a lot of space for others.”
Henry was used as a left-winger early on in his career, before being used through the middle by Wenger at Arsenal.
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And the Belgium assistant manager believes finding the back of the net is a key part of making the transition a success.
“Basically, there’s no transition,” he said. “You just need to score. I started as a striker [when I was] young, then at Monaco I was put on the wing. At the World Cup, I was playing as a winger. Then when I arrived at Arsenal again, I played as a striker. Then I went to Barcelona as a winger again.
“So you need to be versatile and know how to play in a lot of positions because that will give you a lot of options to play in different systems, with different managers.
“At times it wasn’t easy because you have to learn how to play the game, but it you are clever enough to understand that and be able to play on the right, on the left, or even in the middle, then it’s always a plus or for you because you suddenly don’t have only one option to play. You suddenly have three [options to play].
“At the end of the day, for me, it worked out wherever I went.”