Mesut Ozil began his seventh full season at Arsenal, but it seems the love between the German playmaker and the Gunners has gone. The 30-year-old midfielder featured just one out of the team’s eight Premier League matches in the 2019/20 campaign. It was a 2-2 draw to Watford away at Vicarage Road, a game which saw him making zero impact.
The head coach Unai Emery gave an interesting interview after the 4-0 drubbing of Standard Liege in the second round of the Europa League. The match saw teenager Gabriel Martinelli completing a brace. When asked about Ozil’s situation in the club, Emery kept the main focus on other players, namely the mentioned Martinelli. The Spaniard revealed that youngsters more deserve time on the pitch than Ozil.
The German midfielder left out of the last two games
Ozil was not even in the squad at all in Arsenal’s last two matches. He does not have problems with injuries or suspensions. However, Emery is clearly not satisfied with his attitude in training which is why the experienced German midfielder made only two appearances in all competitions this season.
The huge problem for Arsenal, though, is his weekly wages. According to bettingsitesonline.ca, Ozil receives £350,000 each week, a bit too much for a man with a single Premier League appearance in the season. The Gunners would obviously be happy to see him leaving the club during the winter transfer window to cut losses. They are reportedly even happy to pay a part of his salary to any team that decided to buy him.
It is indeed a sad situation if we know that the German playmaker had previously spent six great years with the Gunners. He scored eight goals in the 2016/17 Premier League season and has constantly been the team’s top performer in terms of assists. The love between the team and one of the favourite players is, however, gone and we would not be surprised to see the 30-year-old German shifting the colours in January.
Granit Xhaka as the new captain: Dreadful decision?
A couple of weeks ago Arsenal players voted Granit Xhaka to be their new captain. The majority of fans were against such choice and against watching the Swiss in the starting line-up. Indeed, the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder has been anything but impressive so far in the season. Arsenal looked much better in those rare moments without him on the pitch.
A perfect example was seen in the recent home fixture against Aston Villa. The ten-man Arsenal were 1-2 down with 19 minutes to go at Emirates Stadium. Emery made a move substituting Xhaka for teenager Joe Willock. The youngster made an immediate impact as he inspired the team’s comeback and a huge 3-2 victory at the end.
This is not an isolated example as Xhaka has been one of the weakest parts of Arsenal’s team in most of their Premier League fixtures this season.
Rare long-range screamers are not enough anymore
Xhaka does have the capacity of producing stunning long-range efforts which can sometimes be game-changers. However, these efforts have been very rare in the recent period and are clearly not enough to cover flaws in his game. Xhaka’s lack of composure both and off the ball is more notable now than ever. It is weird to see Unai Emery keeping the Swiss constantly in the first line-up when he has a talented group of players on the bench for the centre of the park. It is hard to expect Granit to carry Arsenal to the top-four finish and the return to the Champions League football.
The Gunners’ 2019/20 campaign
Arsenal brought their game to a higher level after a shaky start to the season. They won five and drew one of the last six games in all competitions before the international break. Such spell of form saw them climb up to third place in the Premier League ladder. They are just one point shy of the reigning champions Manchester City in second place.
On top of the EPL growth, Unai Emery’s men made a brilliant start to the Europa League adventure. They picked up two impressive wins over Eintracht Frankfurt and Standard Liege netting as many as seven goals along the way.
The question is whether they maintain consistency throughout the entire season. They will welcome Alexandre Lacazette back from injury in late-October and they generally have a decent prospect moving forward.
If Emery can keep the good atmosphere in the dressing room in spite of the aforementioned issues with Ozil and Xhaka, we could see the Gunners shining even brighter in months to come.