Mesut Ozil has been an enigma at Arsenal. There are few players in the Premier League who possess the vision and passing skills to match the German. However, he has been highly inconsistent during his time with the Gunners. There is increasing animosity between Unai Emery and Ozil. The tensions seem to be higher than ever before, as Ozil is yet to feature – albeit due to different reason – for the team this season.
Ahead of the first North London derby of the season, Emery claims that the team are ready to welcome Ozil. The German playmaker is expected to feature in this match on Sunday. Speaking to the Guardian ahead of the game, Emery said:
“We need him, and [need] him first to be consistent in training, to be available in each match.
“It’s not in my control. We are here only to help him and support him, and after to demand that he is ready for training, because we need him in our way this year.”
Ozil has missed first team action due to various reasons this season. He was unavailable for the game against Newcastle due to security concerns. The match against Burnley did not witness the former Real Madrid midfielder due to illness, while he did not recover sufficiently for the trip to Anfield last weekend. Arsenal did not seem to suffer from his absence after opening the season with wins over Newcastle and Burnley before losing heavily against Liverpool.
The decision to not include the player for the visit to Anfield was very surprising indeed, but the explanation from Emery suggests that the news is not entirely bad for the player.
Emery says that he expects Ozil to be consistent this season, and there is still a lot of mutual respect. The 30-year-old had good impact last season when he featured in 35 games across all competitions. He came up with figures of 14 assists and 5 goals. The presence of runners like Nicholas Pepe is only expected to make an improvement on these numbers.
Ozil’s inconsistency has been a major factor behind the constant transfer rumours linking him with a move elsewhere. However, he does not appear in line for a move this summer, especially given that Emery will not be able to get a replacement now. Ozil has a contract with the team until 2021.
The upcoming game against Spurs is rather crucial for Arsenal in a number of ways. The loss against Liverpool last week was a huge blow to the morale, but home form under Emery has been good. Furthermore, Spurs are coming into the game in crisis mode. There is talk about Mauricio Pochettino leaving the club in the next few weeks, while the team has made a poor start to the season. It gives the Gunners with a great opportunity to get the heads above the arch-rivals, who have had the rub of the green in the last three years.
After going decades without finishing above Arsenal in the table, Spurs have been able to finish on top of the Gunners in the last three seasons. Even though we were able to get a stunning 4-2 win at the Emirates Stadium in this fixture last season, the rivals still managed to get a slender edge. Now, Arsenal have a great opportunity to close the gap and even jump ahead – with the help of Ozil.