Arsene Wenger has defended the decision to phase out Mesut Ozil from his playing squad, claiming his team isn’t setup to accommodate him.
The German is enjoying his 32nd birthday today, and appears set to be his last anniversary held at the Emirates.
Manager Mikel Arteta has excluded the birthday boy since March, with the player not having not played a competitive minute of football since before the Coronavirus pandemic hit.
Former boss Arsene Wenger, who oversaw his arrival in North London back in 2013, has moved to praise his former talent, before opening up on why he has lost his place under the Spaniard.
“Mesut Ozil is a great player and a creative player, but you have to balance the team because on the defensive side of it it is not his strength,” Wenger told talkSPORT.
“He needs freedom to express his talents. He does the work but he is not very efficient.
“Mikel Arteta has gone for a team with counter-pressing and who play high up, and everybody has to work hard so that is a bit of handicap for him.
“But he is not a bad character – he is a good guy. It just depends what kind of football you want to play.”
The Frenchman went on to discuss the use of the number 10 role in the current style of play that the game is heading, claiming: “I would say that it is a bit of a contradiction because when you think about it, the guys who see, make you win, the guys with the vision and who can give the ball, make you win.
“At the end of the day football is a bit like a quarterback who gives the ball to a runner and the runner is good enough to put the ball in the net.“If you have those two in the team you always have a chance.
“You can build a team in two ways; you can have one guy who needs the ball and two or three who put the ball in the net and I balance the team around them, or you say you want everybody to work like mad when we don’t have the ball and try after that to score goals.
“Mesut Ozil is a guy in the first example; he can give you the ball. It didn’t stop him being world champion with Germany and being a key player.
“Always, the problem of the manager is how you can balance the team offensively and defensively.”
Our team is certainly playing with balance in recent months, highlighted by our return of silverware in the absence of Ozil, and you couldn’t convince me that the former Real Madrid star is deserving of a return to the team.
On too many occasions he became an unaffordable luxury on the pitch, and I much prefer to see the fight and passion showed on and off the ball that we are witness to of late.
Does Arteta’s system simply not afford to carry Ozil’s defensive frailties? Or is there more to the story?