So much has been written already about the Mesut Ozil situation, much of it, agenda driven and most of it speculation. I can promise no agenda in my own views other than a footballing one. I will say however that however much I applaud his work for charity, his defence of the oppressed and his laudable stance on human rights, I equally find his use of social media, to snipe at his employer irritating. He may well have good cause to feel aggrieved in his place of work but the correct way to air such grievances is privately with his line manager, so to speak. This latter trait I doubt has served him well as we have reached the current impasse.
The impasse being that Ozil has not been selected for either Europa League or Premier League duties for his club. Had the club managed to sell or loan two more overseas registered players he may well have been but sadly that was not the case, so he and Sokratis are the two who are to miss out.
Now obviously the squad needs 8 players deemed homegrown which means Chambers, thought not yet fully fit was always going to be included, but this, in my opinion leaves us seriously overweight in central defenders. Even without Sokratis the squad has 6 central defenders and if playing a back three, you can add Tierney and Kolasinac as left central players. With this being the case the inclusion of Mustafi, a player also not fit, who the club were willing to loan or sell in the window, ahead of Mesut, makes little footballing sense.
We all know the current regime regret the huge contract and weekly wage bestowed upon the German playmaker and would love to see that drain off the wage bill. We also know that Ozil is happy to sit out his contract. I do not begin to comprehend why such a talented player with one more good contract in him, and more money than he could ever spend, would rather train and watch than play but it is his decision. Given the situation therefore, that Arsenal contractually must pay his salary, to not at least have him available seems to be a foolhardy cutting off of the nose, despite the face move.
Personally, despite all the antagonism, seemingly present between player and club and perhaps manager and player, we are a club in business to win football matches. That accepted, I know who I would prefer to see come of the bench with 20 minutes to go and push for an equaliser or winner. I will give you a clue that player does not have a Christian name of Joe or Mo!
In conclusion therefore, I would much rather have seen room made for Ozil in both squads, at the expense of Mustafi, or even Mari, whichever is furthest from fitness. The German may never be a starter for Arteta, but his experience and talent might have proved valuable in the short-term. However, in a pure footballing sense, in the longer term I wholeheartedly agree with our manager that Mesut Oil is not the future and, in all probability, will not fit into his plans.
I have long held the believe that the traditional style of passing visionary 10 that our enigmatic German was, has less of a place in the modern game. All teams need a creative midfielder but more now one who can create with more than just gifted passing, but also by beating a man with a trick, a dribble or even physicality. That is not to say modern coaches will not build a tam around one creative genius, but that player is seldom a central 10. You think of Hazard from the left at Chelsea, Grealish given a free role at present from the left, and even Everton building a team to get the best from James this season. Sadly, for Ozil the player Arteta is building his team around is Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, and this is unlikely to change any time soon.
I believe that Ozil could have dropped deeper and played very effectively in a midfield three. I think my favourite Mesut performance was alongside Cazorla and just ahead of Coquelin, in what I recall as a 4141, that wonderous night at Old Trafford in the FA Cup Quarter Final in 2015. However, Arteta or the club, or both have made their decision and the fans will have to accept it. It is the correct decision for Arteta’s medium to long-term strategy but in my humble view an unnecessary short-term one.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.