With Santi Cazorla out injured for the next three months, Arsene Wenger has plenty to ponder as he seeks to balance the midfield in his absence.
The Arsenal manager has tried a number of combinations, and is confident he is close to finding the right one ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham United.
“You think about [the solution] in a global way and when you integrate more than two players, with Ozil [in the side] you have to balance that,” Wenger said. “Sometimes I play Iwobi or Chamberlain so the combination has to be in the four or five.
“I consider Walcott and Alexis to be strikers, in their mind and the way they play. So around them you have to build a team that is balanced.
“When I play Santi most of the time I have Coquelin because he is a really defensive breaker of attacks. He gives Santi more freedom. He is a more offensive player first although he is disciplined tactically. He is not a ball winner but a more creative player.
“We are close with the balance as Xhaka in midfield is moving upwards. He has a different influence to Santi. Santi is more of a guy who gets out of very tight situations with a very short technique, right and left foot, while Xhaka has a pass and is not a dribbler. He passes through the lines.”
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