Is it time to bring Mesut Ozil back into the Arsenal fold?
Gunners are lacking ideas in attack
After Arsenal’s woeful 1-0 Europa League defeat to BATE Borisov, the Gunners don’t have any margin for error in next week’s return leg.
Unai Emery left the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lucas Torreira out of the starting XI, but the team should still have been strong enough to get a result.
Mesut Ozil was also left out, though that isn’t a surprise these days. Emery confirmed that the German was fit to travel, but he was still left at home. Ozil has still only made one start this year.
Leaving out the club’s best-paid and arguably most talented player wouldn’t be such an issue if the team was playing well. However, they haven’t put a good run of performances together for a while now.
The Gunners are 6/1 to win the Europa League, only behind Chelsea and Napoli, but does Emery need to try and make it work with the World Cup winner?
Lack of ideas
Arsenal have always liked to get their full-backs into attacking areas, but that seems to be their only idea lately.
It’s been easy to stop since Hector Bellerin got injured. Opponents know that if they can keep Sead Kolasinac quiet on the left, there isn’t much danger coming from elsewhere. Even bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield Town took more shots than Arsenal in last weekend’s Premier League clash (15 to nine).
With little creativity in midfield, Alexandre Lacazette was forced to drop far too deep in search of the ball against BATE. His frustration eventually boiled over, earning him a red card.
The team are crying out for some invention. Ozil could answer the call if given the chance.
Create an identity
It was clear what Emery was going for in the early months of the campaign. He wanted Arsenal to pass the ball patiently at the back, with a solid central-midfield duo to shield against counter attacks and pressing from the front.
The former Paris-Saint Germain boss has had to deal with plenty of injuries, but the game plan has been less clear recently. It’s often hard to see how his side are trying to play.
Ozil has his flaws, but his presence in the hole forces the side to attempt a slick, passing game.
Put him in the shop window
It’s clear that Emery isn’t entirely convinced by Ozil. But while he’s at the club, it makes sense to try to take advantage of his talents while they can. Very few players in world football have his ability to spot and then pick a pass.
If the club do want to get the 30-year-old off the wage bill, leaving him out of the squad every week is only making his value drop sharply.
There are only a handful of clubs that could afford to take on Ozil’s wages. Giving him more game time would help to remind potential buyers of how good he can be.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing