Mesut Ozil opens up on his former teammate replacing Unai Emery as Arsenal manager.
One of the biggest concerns, when Mikel Arteta became the Arsenal manager, was how he would handle the huge egos in the dressing room. Well, so far he has done a remarkable job based on the comments of Mesut Ozil.
Ozil fell out of favour under Unai Emery and at one point it did appear that he was being frozen out at the Emirates. There were times when he never even made the matchday squad.
It got to a stage where everyone and their uncle was demanding that the former German international be reintegrated back into the squad. Emery backed down but there was no improvement in the 31-year-old’s performance.
That has all changed now. Ever since Arteta was appointed Ozil has featured in his matchday teams and we have all started to see the Ozil of old.
Ozil has been asked what his reaction to Arteta being named as Emery’s replacement and he could not have been more fulsome in his praise and honesty.
‘It is basically getting us back to the old Arsenal virtues. Having the possession, being in control of the game, having the ball all the time, Ozil said per the Metro.
‘These are the things that he is working on with us and you can see it – everyone is smiling, laughing, enjoying their time at the moment and this has made us be successful now.
‘We are really enjoying everything at the moment. You can see we have a structure on the pitch now.
‘Everyone knows what their job is on the pitch and we are very happy to have won these two games [against United and Leeds].’
He added: ‘I was a bit surprised [Arteta was appointed at Arsenal] but on the other hand, time flies quite quickly and I remember when he went to work [as a coach] with Pep Guardiola at Man City, it was quite obvious he would become a manager soon.
‘I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here.
‘We have a normal relationship. We were team-mates. We respected each other a lot and he was already a team captain at the time so in general players respected him and now he has just continued building up on that.
‘As a playmaker, I need a lot of space. His playing style allows me to get that space and it is so important to be successful.’
The one thing about Ozil that cannot be questioned is his honesty. He has got himself in trouble for some of his comments in the past and these comments I believe come from his heart. He is not trying to butter up to Arteta, he is saying it how it is.
This makes such a change from the last few months. Having the most experienced Arsenal player so in tune with the manager is, without doubt, a huge positive.
Long may it continue.