Unai Emery has claimed the decision to drop Mesut Ozil is a group one and not just down to him.
The German has found himself frozen out by Emery and Arsenal fans have criticised their boss for his treatment of the playmaker. However, the Spaniard says he is not the only one who shares this thought.
Ozil and Emery: Five things to know…
- Emery frequently deployed Ozil on the wing during his early games at Arsenal…
- …before moving him centrally and giving him the armband in October last year.
- Recurring injuries forced Ozil to play a bit-part role until the end of the season.
- Despite a strong pre-season, Ozil has made just one appearance in the league this season.
- There are strong rumours that the German could leave Arsenal next summer.
Arsenal have often lacked creativity in midfield this season and Gunners’ supporters believe the answer to their problems already lies within their squad. Ozil may have been criticised over the past few years but he has topped Arsenal’s assist table in three out of the six seasons he’s been at the club.
The media have begun to question Emery over his insistence on keeping Ozil out of the side, but the Spaniard claimed this was not purely down to him.
Speaking to the media before their clash with Crystal Palace, he said: “Here, we have one agreed strategy as a club and as a team.
“Because the most important thing is the club, the team and finding a performance. Previously we were all speaking between us to take that decision.
“I know all the supporters want to know something but now is not the moment. I think it is not the moment to speak about him.
“We are going to play on Sunday and in the next matches and we are going to decide, and when we can speak about him something differently we will look.”
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Can anyone replace Ozil?
In the past, Arsenal have garnered a reputation for having a plethora of creative midfield options. However, fast forward to this season and this is no longer the case.
In fact, Emery admitted this week that players have been ‘trialled’ in the No.10 position to see if they can play the role effectively. One of these players is Lucas Torreira, who played in front of the back four last season. The Uruguayan played further forward during Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Vitoria, although to little effect.
When quizzed on this, Emery said: “I was speaking with him about his best position to help us in our shape.
“It depends on the shape. Last season, his best position was playing as a deep midfield two alongside (Granit) Xhaka or Matteo (Guendouzi).
“This year, we are playing also sometimes with just one, and he can achieve with his quality to get to the box and get closer to score and is very intelligent about getting space around the box and taking chances.
“Then also, when we prepare the team to do high pressing, for us he is very important because he is very intelligent tactically but he can play in the two positions – the two midfielders, he can play higher for the pressing and to get into the box.
“Sometimes, we also use him as a one-man in midfield doing the covering for the two other players ahead.”