Arsenal legend Thierry Henry says Mesut Ozil has Alexis Sanchez to thank for his goal-scoring streak this season.
Ozil has netted six goals already this term — just two short of last campaign’s total — while he only has one assist, despite being known more as a playmaker than a goal scorer.
Henry thinks that is down to Sanchez playing up front this season instead of on the wing, which he says creates more space for the Germany international to exploit.
“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,” Henry told reporters. “That’s why Ozil is scoring a lot of goals — off the movement of Alexis Sanchez.”
Sanchez has also assisted three of Ozil’s goals this season — against Watford, Chelsea and Swansea City.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had been reluctant to use Sanchez as a central striker in the previous two seasons, but had little choice at the start of this campaign with Olivier Giroud still not match fit, Danny Welbeck out injured, and Theo Walcott impressing on the wing.
Wenger did eventually buy a new striker in Lucas Perez, but Sanchez’s strong form has so far kept the Spaniard on the bench. Sanchez has six goals and five assists in all competitions so far for the Gunners this season.
Henry, Arsenal’s record scorer who switched from being a winger to a striker after joining the club, said he always wanted to see Sanchez up front.
“I always said in the past two years that Sanchez could be used as an option as a centre-forward,” Henry said. “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.”
Despite their impressive form so far this season, both Sanchez and Ozil missed out on being nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or.