Arsene Wenger is a big fan of the Arsenal and Germany international star Mesut Ozil, clearly. The Frenchman would not have made the creative midfielder his record signing or kept putting him in the Arsenal starting line-up when all the TV pundits and many fans were on his back if he did not rate the player highly.
And that was evident again today as he spoke about the German star in his pre-match press conference reported by Arsenal.com. Not only did the manager wax lyrical about the qualities of Ozil and what he adds to the team, Wenger suggested that having players like Ozil, Giroud and Koscielny back from lengthy injury spells could benefit us as they will be much fresher than those who have played most of the games in the first half of the season.
The Arsenal boss said, “He is an exceptional football player. He always gives you continuity in your game. He’s a very creative player and ideally you want all your best players available.
“The advantage of these players – for example Giroud, Koscielny, Debuchy, Ozil – at the moment where most of the players in the league have played 26 or 27 games in their legs, they have four or five.
“If we can get them ready and fresh and competitive, it can give us a new [impetus].”
The manager also revealed that the German was back in training and would definitely be in the Arsenal squad for the visit of Stoke City to the Emirates stadium on Sunday.
Wenger said, “He will have a training session on Friday with the squad. He will certainly be available for selection on Sunday. Will I start him or not? I haven’t decided yet.”
Let me help you Arsene, and explain why it would be a big mistake to start Ozil against the Potters. For all his qualities, Ozil is not the man for a physical battle and that is what we can expect from Stoke. Ozil is a bit rusty as well and after so long out through injury, he is not going to be up to the frenetic speed that I expect and he is not going to be throwing himself into tackles.
Arsenal cannot afford to carry any passengers against a determined and physical opponent, especially in the midfield area and we do not want Ozil to come back and perform badly either, as it would do nothing for his confidence. But as long as we can stand up to that at the start, the game could be perfect for Ozil to come on and use his skills against a tiring team in the last 20 minutes or so. Do you agree Gooners?