Should Ozil start against Spurs? Headache for Emery…

Headache For Emery? by Dan Smith

Is it a coincidence that Ozil gets a rare start in the League and we produce arguably our best performance of the season? Unai Emery is of course delighted with the 5-1 win, but you sense he might have wanted it to be anyone else but the German who stole the show? Our manager has been rotating his squad this week, with big games every 3 days.

You sense he has planned certain players rested in midweek would start at the weekend. Or more accurate, those picked to play Bournemouth might be deemed not suitable for the North London Derby. That’s now a headache for our boss. The Spaniard has always been open in his opinion that there are certain fixtures that Ozil is ‘tactically ‘ not right for. Yet he knows, based on Wednesday night, if he were to drop his playmaker and we lost to Spurs, he’d be opening himself up to scrutiny. After all, he challenged The World Cup winner to respond and he did, while always making it clear on social media in his view he was training to a high standard.

A top coach though sticks by his ethos. Not just does Ozil not fit into his principles, I think his instinct in a tough away game will be to play with caution. That again may not be what Gooners want. Five at the back would encourage Tottenham who surely would rather face 3 hardworking DM’s then two attacking talents behind a striker. If he did feature and we lost, Ozil again becomes the scapegoat, backing up Emery’s perception of him.

Of course, in reality, our record in away games against the Big 5 has been shocking for over a decade so it’s down to more than one player. Surely at Wembley though our best form of defence is attack?


  1. No, because Arsenal need wingers/ wide AMs in 3-4-2-1 that can control the ball, tall and quick like Iwobi

    Unlike Hazard, Pedro and Willian, Ozil usually do play well in 3-4-2-1 formation, especially in tough away matches. Because Ozil sucks as a winger

    But the Bournemouth game is an exception, due to Bournemouth’s awful defense, low motivation and the Emirates factor

  2. Whatever team he brings out should give us a very good performance and a draw at least. Now what we have seen is that the team performs better with Ozil included. Some of the worst performances we have had were because we lack creativity and creating goal scoring chances is were goals are produced. it Is now left for Emery to strick the balance. You can’t be without creativity against spurs.

  3. “but you sense he might have wanted it to be anyone else but the German who stole the show?” No. I got a sense that Ozil will play more often than before and will hopefully help us in the closing stages of the season. If UE thinks Ozil fits his strategy for this game he will pick him otherwise he won’t.

    1. That’s a similar impression to what I got, I didn’t understand that statement in the article at all because Emery spoke well of Ozil and seemed glad, he said Ozil is happy again. Some people just have a harder time of letting things go. I expect that rotation will still come into play over the last stretch now, but some like the article writer will read into it his own story. Ozil was brought back for the European tie and then another midweek big fixture, these teams have extra days in training than us, so Emery relied on Mesut and tried to keep players fresh, it is a good sign rather than looking any further or going far back, it is what it is.

  4. I would actually start Mustafi at RB like was done earlier for a bit for defensive solidity with Monreal on the left who will provide more defence that Kola.
    Only 1 striker as well.

    Mustafi Koscielny Sokratis Monreal
    Xhaka Torreira
    Mikitarian Ozil Iwobi
    (Auba or Laca)

  5. Well whoever starts tomorrow has my backing. Winning tomorrow will go a long way and will shape our form for the rest of the season because it’ll put us in just the perfect situation to play UCL next season. I don’t hope to see a defensive line up though, Spurs need a win so I guess they’ll come at us, and the moment we try to start defending and soaking up pressure in our box is the moment we set on the path to lose the match.
    They’ll come at us with everything they’ve got, which will leave em vulnerable and susceptible to our attack.
    We need our best defenders on the pitch, our best midfielders n our best attackers, I’d love to see Lacazette up front, with Mhiki-Ozil-Iwobi behind him.
    We really need to play these guys, seeing they’re all in some sort of form starting from Lava down to Iwobi though Mhiki and Ozil arrived late to the party.
    Losing is not an option, I repeat, losing is not an option because of our next match.

  6. For the folks who ate just coming across the term “The Ozil bounce technique ”, y’all have missed actually.
    Lol. Sue I hope you’re not new to that though,
    I’ve actually known about this his bounce technique for the past two years, he uses it a lot especially in one on one situations.
    I actually have a compilation of his goals with that technique on my phone, I’m surprised people just noticed it and even Ian Wright just noticed.
    When I first came across it, it was called the Ozil Technique, I actually thought it was over hyped till I watched a video of him doing that in training to score. I was surprised, I mean it’s his technique and others can’t do it but he does it easily and he’s even doing it in trainings for fun, he has used it to score against Chelsea and Liverpool

      1. Just spent 1hr on YouTube watching the The Ozil Bounce technique…. wow! I didn’t notice it until Eddie here mentioned it, never knew it was a thing. Kudos to him if he really did invent that technique, it’s brilliant.

  7. …. Using Ozil in how many days now and y’ll expect him to start tomorrow? common
    ….it won’t happen… Emery picks players and formation according to the opposition and not just because of fancy play or flicks..
    …. It’s a derby tomorrow and not just any derby but the London derby….. Tottenham are like wounded lions and will come out pressing and giving us no room to play…if we go by Ozil’s history, he doesn’t play well in such games and he is usually a liability and not an asset if he is marked out…
    …. It’s important we go toe to toe with them in pressing and aggression, none of such attributes Ozil has in his arsenal….. Perhaps, he might have a cameo later in the match but he won’t start tomorrow as long as Emery is the manager though.

  8. And this is the exact reason as to why we must get rid of Ozil. How can your so called “star player” only be suitable for specific games? How can any club make such a massive financial investment, and continue to accept such a small return? Do you see Hazard, Salah, Eriksen, Pogba, etc, left out of lots of games, especially the big games?

    If Ozil hasn’t been playing because of fitness issues, a falling out with Emery, and generally not putting the effort in training, then fair enough, but I say Emery should play him tomorrow. If Ozil isn’t in his plans for next season, then don’t play him. The reason I say play Ozil if he’s in Emery’s plans for next season, is because Ozil is bang in form (albeit against weak teams at home), and he looks more motivated and hungry now. And I also wonder about the psychological damage for Ozil by not starting him tomorrow. From his perspective, he’s playing well, doing what the manager asks of him, so he’ll expect to start.

    Emery is all about the collective, not the individual (which I love), but within that collective, you still need to manage players correctly to keep them happy and motivated. I just think that it could finish Ozil off tomorrow if he doesn’t start, and his motivation will just dip again and maybe not recover. I am not exactly making a case for Ozil, but he has only made one appearance from the bench in a big game since Liverpool, and that was way back. If Ozil is in Emery’s plans for next season, then should he start him tomorrow? Surely Emery has to see if Ozil can perform in the big games again?

    1. “The team needs him, they need that creativity,” he said. “There’s no other player in the league like him, he’s a very unique talent, but he has to be in an environment that subsidises for his weaknesses.
      “If he came to me, if he was playing on my side and said, ‘Look, Lee, I’m not going to track back as much as you want, but I’ll win you the game’, I would do everything I could to make that happen.
      “He needs special management. If you’re not willing to do that as a group of players, and as a coach, then there’s no future for him at the club.”
      – Lee Dixon

      1. I think when it comes to ozil, there is always a positive or negative over-exaggeration. There are definitely players like him in the league, david silva, juan mata, eriksen, de bruyne etc. An important question to ask Dixon is if he thinks a club like arsenal with all our deficiences can afford a player that needs special treatment. Anyways, i want him to play against spurs because we need to him to show us he is ready to step up for these difficult away games especially now that he is very good form. I would also like to see the combination he had with mkhi to exploit their weaknesses.

      2. Sorry but that nonsense about covering for Ozil’s weakness has been rejected here, was rejected by Madrid, rejected by Germany etc. Ozil does not have leverage like say the likes of KDB, Hazard, Silva, Cesc etc. If he was as multi faceted (Assist, scores goals, dominates games and a go to player) then I would accept him this covering his weaknesses rubbish.

        You have to earn the respect, not just expecting preferential treatment just because you have a big following / big name etc.

        I have never seen any club or country build it’s team around a limited / one dimensional player. Sorry.

        But I do think Ozil should be given chance to start against the spuds tomorrow. But he has to work hard like everyone ese in the team. Spuds are like a wounded dog right now, they are going to come out swinging, so I expect everyone one play for each other tomorrow.

        1. Goonster, if you read what the manager and the players, especially, say about Ozil, he most certainly has their respect.
          Having just returned from the game on Wednesday and listening to the crowd chanting his name, I would like to suggest that the majority of our fans also respect him.

          The minority who keep hounding him need to realise this and understand that he has been the model professional since UE became manager/coach.

          As for the team selection for Saturday, why change a team that attacked and produced five goals, had a productive and talented midfield and only showed defensive weakness whenever they tried to play suicidal back passes?
          Cut that problem out and we will have a positive result against the spuds.

    2. Total agreement with your reasoning. He should start for me anyway. Will he though? Ask Gypsy Rose Lee, as only a fortune teller can read Emerys mind. I am surprised that our media have not yet dubbed him the new “tinker man”. I do not necessarily mean this as criticism as I much believe omitting players who are not doing the business is good for the squad. Wenger would keep playing his favourites, irrespective of form and that was silly. But Ozil NOW deserves another few games at least to show us if he can find some consistency. I believe though that he will start on the bench with Mkhi playing from start. I would certainly omit Xhaka with Torreira and Guendouzi both starting. Spuds have pace and Xhaka does not . Nor does he have awareness and Spuds are vastly better AND QUICKER than Bournemouth. Xhaka is always far too slow and one paced and one dimensional. Against weaker teams he has time to show his passing and long shots BUT against better teams like Spuds, he is always a liability , IMO.

      1. Lol!
        Oh Jon, this has made me laugh.
        You can see at the bottom that I said I would start with Ozil on the bench and have Mkhi starting and I openly admit I support Ozil..

        You have bashed him a few times and said he should start.

        Have we flipped XD lol.

        I do wish to point out that Guendouzi lacks awareness, not due to poor quality, the lad is young and developing so this isn’t a moan from me. Xhaka and Guendouzi both have those moments. I’d go with Guendouzi as well (which you can see in my post) as I like the idea of 2 DMs behind a creative number 10.

        1. midkemma, my well meaning but misguided friend, do you not see that circumstances alter opinions sometimes? Little in football life is constantly fixed or not capable of change. I still believe Ozil WILL be sold this summer BUT I also believe he has it in him , IF- AND THAT’S A BIG IF – he can start regularly playing at his utmost, as he did against Bournemouth. I also much hope that he need not be sold and that he achieves a level of consistency which has been way beyond him for some time now. Unlike some, I do not hold grudges and though firmly grounded in reality, I also hope to be proved wrong. It would not be the first or even the 101st time. After all midkemma, like us ALL on here I am a devoted Gooner and nothing would give me more pleasure than for OZIL to start showing the consistency that would prevent him being sold. I do NOT think he will but I DO KNOW HE CAN. The choice is his. That is all my above post was saying. Right now he deserves a starting place in the team. However I think he will start on the bench. We will see, tomorrow. The reason I HAVE OFTEN CALLED HIM OUT IS BECAUSE MOST OFTEN HE DOES NOT SHOW THE HUGE GIFTS HE POSSESSES.

          1. I know we have differing opinions on Ozil but we can still have a laugh from time to time 🙂

            1. If you had the same shaving mirror I have , you would cry rather than laugh. That mirror gets crueller each year, I swear!

    3. Get rid of Ozil so that TMJW can replace him?
      Ozil started because IWobble injured. Ozil will not start tomorrow as IWobble is fit now.

      1. Please stop this . they are not competing for a position .Ozil is a play maker and Iwobi plays as a make shift winger . Hopefully they can bring the goods for us .
        No need to peddle hate and make people batter each other with comparisons.

  9. I’d love to see him play, but whether that happens or not… we’ll have to wait until 11.30 tomorrow to find out COYG

  10. Lee Dixon has a point, Ozil needs a bit more time on the ball than he is offered in the big, more physical games, as a team they should be able to play to give him that extra space and time to pick out a killer ball. If not then he can only be involved in the games where he “tactically” fit.

    When the tactics and team balance are right as per Wednesday he is sublime.

    He epitomises arsenal, frustrating because we know how good he/arsenal can be so when they are not we get very frustrated.

    I hope if he plays tomorrow he and the team can step up.

  11. Should one of the most creative players on the planet start for a team that has two great strikers, but is SERIOUSLY lacking in creativity? Yeah, what a headache..

  12. Never seen Ozil performing in an away fixture against any Top 4 or 6 teams since he moved here.
    But he just seems to be motivated and confidence is flowing throughout him. Give him a rare start away at Spuds and we can see what he can do.

    1. How many times have THE WHOLE TEAM performed in an away game against a Top 6 Rival since Ozil joined the Club? Why is is always Ozil being blamed when the rest of the players are just as accountable?
      Our away record is really bad against the top sides away from home.But other than Chelsea away Ozil has not played against City Manure or Lpool so how can he be blamed when he’s not even in the side?And in those games can anyone point out any player that stood out?We drew at OT when we should have won,Lost at Chelsea when we should have at least got a draw.And got away with a 3-1 loss at City when in fairness we didn’t get a kick all game.
      Blame Ozil if you insist but if he wasn’t on the pitch how an He be blamed

      1. In my earlier post Phil, I discussed that the team needs to support the way Ozil plays…. make runs, block, off the ball movement to give Ozil the time,space and target.

        It is more of a criticism of the system rather than him. He is like a precision tool that needs to be wielded right.

        1. Nope. We shouldn’t build the team around a player that is not consistent and does not turn up half the time. Emery knows what he is doing, and that is why Ozil only plays at home against mid-table opposition.

  13. The fact that this question is being asked tells us something.If Unai Emery benches Ozil the next match then I believe he needs to be sold if he can once again not be trusted in a big match.I just don’t get this reasoning at all.The smaller picture is that he’s been benched for tactical reasons but the bigger picture is that the coach thinks he’s not good enough to start should he be benched.

  14. Leno

    I would start with Ozil on the bench and let him and Mkhi know that they will be swapped, we want to win this so I’d want Mkhi to run himself into the ground and then replace him with Ozil who I hope would be able to find those pockets easier against tired legs.

    Auba starts with the hope that the Mkhi/Auba partnership can grow again, they done well in the last game in linking up and Auba can stretch the spuds backline with his pace, again tiring them out against a top athlete.

    AMN and Iwobi on the wings, Iwobi final ball is horrendous at times but he does put a shift in. He will track back, he will press and he will cause problems for their attacking movements. He would offer more protection to Kola as well IMO. The same idea with AMN on the right, he can help out Jenks in the def side which would be aided by his experience as a RB/RWB. Press hard, like Iwobi. He is not a small lad to be bullied off the ball.

    I feel that both Iwobi and AMN could drop deeper and almost become LM/RM respectively, turning us into a 4411 at times when we are being pushed back, assuming the spuds will cause us problems…

    Once the spuds are tired enough then I’d look to bring both Ozil and Laca on, fresh legs and the vision to cause problems.

    1. I ALWAYS RESPECT POSTS WITH WELL THOUGHT THROUGH DETAILS. That I largely agree with your post is beside the point. I WOULD START OZIL OVER IWOBI BUT I think Emery will not do so.

      1. I like Ozil in the middle and I think Mkhi looks better when he is more central, if we was playing two ACM behind a lone striker in a 3421 formation then I’d be picking both Mkhi and Ozil.

        Iwobi is one of the few that does offer width and his helping out in def is praiseworthy… Even if his final balls are not. Ozil and Mkhi I feel will drift too central if played out wide, or they would become weak links.

        Thanks Jon.

        1. You know midkemma , we are fast becoming good friends . We must stop it- people will talk!

  15. Do you think it was just a coincidence that Ozil only shines when it’s Burnley at home, Leicester at home, Cardiff at home, and more recently Bournemouth at home? These are the games Emery has trusted Ozil from start, against mediocre teams. IT’S A PATTERN and excellent man management from Emery not coincidence.

    Now your question, should Ozil start against Tottenham AWAY? HELL NO!! (In Nasty C’s voice)

    We need to start with our strongest 11 which doesn’t include Ozil at the moment..

    1. Try telling Bournemouth that.If Emery is adamant he will ONLY pick players who deliver then your boy Iwobi wouldn’t even make the bench

      1. Didn’t Bournemouth just smash Chelsea 4-0 ?
        If emery dosent play ozil then we know he doesn’t play players that are in form .
        The way he ran the show on Wednesday was class ,no player in our team can caress a ball around like him .but I suppose emery will go back to his 5at the back 2 defensive midfielders and boring attack minded front players ,just what I wanna see at the start of my weekend

        1. We will NOT win if Ozil is on the bench as we have NOBODY in our squad capable of opening up a defence.And let’s face it.Defensively the Spuds are better than us.If he plays Ozil,Auba AND Laca they will have something to worry them.Why should we set up defensively against them FFS?They are out of form and have little confidence.We should go at them from the off.Win this game and their season is over.

          1. Exactly Phil ,but for some reason fans don’t want that formation and emery seems to follow suit .
            I know the front 3 I would want to see (the ones you mentioned)but I’m sure we will see iwobi ,miki and one of the strikers .

        2. I guess you didn’t know but 5 of those players that trashed chelshit did not feature against Arsenal due to injury. It wasn’t a full strength Bournemouth plus we played home, perfect game for Ozil. If He shines, its good because the media gets off the coaches back a little, his fan club gets happy, everybody wins. Brilliant from Emery.

          1. ????,mate there’s always excuses to put ozil down but there is never any proper facts .
            The games he’s played this season (which haven’t been many ) he’s look as good as ever when he as the right players around him .

  16. No he doesn’t perform well against Top Teams (a big reason he needs to be sold in the Summer. For his salary he should play well against Top Teams)

    But he should play against most teams below us

    1. So by you’re logic we should sell half the team ,because the football I’ve seen from some of the players who are picked on a regular basis as not been good enough.

    2. So he’s scored v United, Liverpool, Chelsea & the spuds… but he doesn’t perform well against top teams ?

      1. ?? no1 assits like him sue ,his assits are too dirty ,should be a 18 rating on them .
        I’ve got a spurs mate and he said to me maybe if we had a better defensive team maybe he wouldn’t need to run after every ball and then he can do what he’s paid for .

        1. Xxnofx, that observation, along with your 6.16 comment, is too much for some fans to reason with.
          That’s because they make complete sense.

          1. ?. Ken ,for me i feel the problem some fans have is this fantasy about his wages ,a wage which wouldn’t look out of place in most top teams .
            I look past that and see what he can do if the team is set up to get the best out of his skill set ,and after what I saw on Wednesday how can emery leave him out the team ,a team that have look less than ordinary these last couple of months .

            1. The issue of his wages crop up more times than his other so called frailties that’s for sure!!

              I actually witnessed a team that attacked and defended on Wednesday and if they can cut down on the defensive errors due to trying to play out of defence at every opportunity, UE will have a very good squad on his hands.

              Ozil was a class act and proved his worth.

              It just seems that some on here are not happy unless they are criticising one player or another.

              I certainly saw a different Iwobi as well, so credit where credit is due.

              1. Exactly Ken! What annoys me – take Wednesday for example, Ozil was brilliant… yet one or two on here didn’t even acknowledge it.. no well done for scoring/assisting/oozing class nothing!! Just carry on with the negatives!! Would it really hurt to say he played well?? Apparently so……..

  17. I suspect Ozil and Iwobi will both start against Spurs if Emery plays with a back four which should consist of AMN,Socrstis,Kocielney and Monreal.I would not risk Kolasinac against the in form Son.

  18. Ozil hasn’t been good in big away matches his entire arsenal career. Emery clearly doesn’t trust him and wants him sold. He won’t start. He’s played two back-to-back games because he’s not starting against Spurs. United? Maybe. Spurs? Not a chance.

  19. Ozil is gifted no doubt… You only see Ozil weaknesses when there is poor defending quote me wrong…if there is a slight quality defense from Arsenal through the year no one will come out in criticism of Ozil… When Germany won the world cup Ozil is always a starter and you say he does not perform in big matches?… Can there be any match bigger than a world cup finals?… Germany got excellent defenders in top of there Game… No mistake He was best player for Germany for couples of years… But when the Germany defence are weak… No Lahm, Boteang is not top for same with Khedira…and thire defense issues…see what comes out of it and yet they blame Ozil… As if he is a Goal kepper or a defender..
    Ozil will always thrive with better defense behind him not one that ship In goal almost every match as the case of Arsenal…

    Everyone has a weakness… Ozil weakness is part of his strength… That which gives him calmness to play his game and insight to what other players can’t spot… I go with the following formation


    Mustaphi…… Soc….. Kos…. Kol/Monr

    Torriera……. Xhaka

    Micki…… Ozil…….Iwobi


    1. Good post Mihado, excellent observations.
      Don’t like your team though!
      Start as we did on Wednesday, with the same substitutions if we can… that should do the trick.

      1. I am a lover of good football… l which ever lineup Emery uses… As long as he plays players in their preferred position rather… Spuds is a must win… Would be a bad result anything aside from winning… Wembley is our home too… We’ve won much intense match in wembley I see no reason not to win… We’ve got complete squad no new injuries aside from our out of season injuries… I expect a free flowing football from both side but Arsenal winning with a big margin

        1. Mihado, I agree with your lineup, except I would choose Lichtsteiner over Mustafi as RB. In his last three appearances, Lichtsteiner has looked the player Arsenal thought they were getting from Juventus. This is a game Arsenal must win and I believe Players in form should be picked that’s why I go for Lichtsteiner and Kolasinac and Xhaka over Guendouzi. Spurs would pressurize Guendouzi after watching his taking too long on the ball against FC Bournmouth. Arsenal must start hard and fast against Spurs and not allow them to settle given they have lost two in a row.
          Anyway it is a good problem for Unai Emery to have with selection options and important players being fit and in form. I’ll leave final team selection to Emery as that is why he is paid the salary!

          1. I won’t give that Old man a chance at all… he is a big risk and a liability … With the pace of Son And Kane am so Sure he can’t cope… Likewise Jenko who hasn’t got Match Confidence yet he only start last week too much of a risk starting him today again of all day… Our defense should be no nonsense and should be aggressive from the 1st minute… That give our attack room to flourish

  20. Remember the number of games in a space of ten days. I see UE rotating. I won’t be surprised to see LACA and Ozil on the bench.

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