Ozil’s Lifeline? By Dan Smith
At the start of the week Unai Emery probably had no plans to be using Ozil in any Arsenal squad for the Premiership, Europa League or Carabao Cup. The German has always divided the fan base, so our manager thought he had reached the point where he had gotten away with freezing him out completely, something he clearly wanted to do from day one.
For the first time though support might be tipping in the favour of the player, with the Spaniard no longer getting away with saying nothing, lying that there is zero rift, that the midfielder is training well yet he has better options.
He could get away with that if he were winning games, but he is not, it is constantly being noticed about our lack of creativity.
After Sheffield United it was the most vocal I have heard our fan base in doubting if we have the right coach to take us to the next level, but even Ozil’s biggest critics were pointing out the contradiction that while you’re struggling to break down the Blade’s defence. A man is being asked to sit at home who, since moving to England, only two individuals have bettered his assist record. He would be top of that list if he hadn’t missed so many games.
We know what Ozil can’t do, he won’t run around like Guendouzi, he’s never going to slide in with a tackle and his body language will always be frustrating. Yet it’s counterproductive to punish him for that then whem every other option struggles to produce shots on targets.
Also, in an era where clubs prefer head coach to manager, should Emery be judged on his coaching? Isn’t part of his job from Monday – Friday to get the very best out of what he sees on the training pitch and if he’s not happy, to teach new skills?
Since when has it been okay to just shrug your shoulders and give up on a resource worth 350,000 pounds a week? And if that’s his style why is he only treating a World Cup Winner like that? Shouldn’t he be using Ozil? Why can our current defenders get away with being shocking yet start every week?
The answer of course is the salary, with slashing the wage bill a way to impress the Kroenke family with his contract up for consideration in the summer.
If that’s not the case, then if it’s his judgement that Willock on Monday was more likely to produce a killer through ball, that has to be a sackable offence? Especially when he keeps getting proven wrong. All of this is music to the ears of man who has made it clear he won’t be forced out of North London.
It makes this Thursday a crucial game, a lifeline for Ozil. It’s on him to perform. Many have fought his corner, if he’s given the chance, he needs to make it count so his boss if forced to use him no matter how he feels. We know Ozil is not consistent enough to be world class, no one is pretending everything will change based on one change of personel, but the question should be is he better than 3 DM’s?
Emery will be brave not to at least have him on the bench and if he lights up the Emirates, Emery would be even braver not to feature him on Sunday. However bad the abuse Wenger got in his final two years; he was never pressured into who to pick/not pick. He wouldn’t put someone on the bench just to please the fans. Yet if Wenger was here, Ozil would be playing wouldn’t he?
So would Rambo….