Mesut Ozil to start for Arsenal tonight? This can’t go on much longer
A look at whether Mesut Ozil will start for Arsenal against Standard Liege and how his situation can’t go on much longer.
Arsenal face Standard Liege tonight in a game they’ll expect to win. Emery will most likely field his ‘Europa League side’ giving opportunities to Martinelli, Willock and Nelson to impress. However, one question many fans will be waiting to find out is, what about Mesut Ozil?
The German has been extremely limited to opportunities this season after many felt Emery would incorporate his best paid player into the team. Yet this has not been the case. So far, Ozil has been restricted to cameo’s in the second string team and a short outing against Watford. He was left out entirely against Man United on Monday and tonight we’ll find out just how far down the pecking order he is.
It’s a fall from grace if Ozil starts, but it’s even worse if he doesn’t.
It is no secret that Emery sees Ozil as surplus to requirements. Under Arsene Wenger, Ozil was a guaranteed starter with the Frenchman showing faith in his talents regardless of what he produced. However, Emery does not have time for such luxuries.
Emery prefers his midfield to be dependable. I hesitate to say unimaginative – although the manager did opt for Torreira, Guendouzi and Xhaka in the last fixture – but the Spaniard prefers players who can be trusted to run the miles and be mobile on the pitch. Where Wenger’s football revolved around player magic, Emery prefers consistency.
However, it feels as though this situation can’t go on much longer.
Currently, Ozil plays for Arsenal and Emery will continue to use him where he feels necessary. Yet, should Ozil start tonight, what would it take for him to be in the team for Sunday? A defence opening pass? A goal? Or just running around some more? One assumes Emery has made up his mind on the player, and unless the squad are plagued by injuries they’ll be no way in for the German.
With Ozil being Arsenal’s highest earner and biggest ‘brand’, one imagines the club are at odds in how they view the situation. The Arsenal media page constantly pushes Ozil content and the replies are all along the lines of ‘Ozil will outlast Emery’. It feels as though in a time when Emery needs as much support as possible, the Ozil fans are increasingly disgruntled.
And that’s the reality. Ozil has brought an abundance of worldwide fans to Arsenal and the club value their support, however, it’s not a sustainable situation. Emery should not be forced to include a player and in hindsight should have pushed harder to see Ozil leave this summer.
It’s awkward for Emery and a test of his management how he handles the situation. Currently, it’s not going as smoothly as he’d like, and for as long as his team appear to lack quality in the final third, many will call for Ozil’s inclusion. Yet, do people really believe forcing Ozil would be better for the club than promoting young midfielders such as Guendouzi, Willock and Saka?
Ozil had five seasons of protected love from Wenger and by the end most fans had become frustrated and angered by his output. Ivan Gazidis rewarded Ozil his mega money contract and the playmaker has never looked the same since. The security concern was another unfortunate issue that would not have helped Ozil. However, it says something that Kolasinac has recovered to start most games.
Overall, this is where Ozil is at. He’s a 30 year old World Cup winner seemingly content on warming Arsenal’s bench or not even making squad. Many are quick to blame Emery but surely there’s more the German could be doing to be included?
If Ozil really wants to be at Arsenal, he’ll start by showing his worth tonight, and if he doesn’t this unsustainable situation will continue to linger, doing no good for no one.
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