Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta told ‘If Partey plays, then so should Ozil’
If Arsenal are making Thomas Partey a key part of their plans then Mesut Ozil should be brought back in from the cold, says Paul Merson.
Mikel Arteta was given some money to improve the squad in the summer transfer window and make some big changes at the Emirates, and the signings of Gabriel and Thomas Partey were hailed as two great deals by the side.
But it was his massive decision to leave Ozil out of the Premier League and Europa League squads that got many people in the media talking as it meant that he would not have that creativity the German has in his left-foot.
And Arteta seen his side struggle for creativity and goal threat this season, with Arsenal unable to bring all of the pieces together that will deliver much sought-after consistency.
Merson believes the answer to that problem remains on the club’s books in the shape of Ozil, as the club legend remains bemused as to how the talented 32-year-old has found himself in this position.
The former Gunners star told Sky Sports: “For me, Mesut Ozil comes back in the team if Thomas Partey is fit. Partey gets around the pitch, dominates the midfield and dictates the game. Him playing opens up a chance for Ozil.
“At the moment, Arsenal have nobody in there to provide the forwards. You can make runs all day long, but if you’re a centre-forward, your runs are only as good as the players playing behind you.
“When these Arsenal players are getting the ball in midfield, with time, is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making the run? Is he confident they are going to see his run and are capable of getting that ball through the eye of a needle? I’d say no, so they need creativity. Fernando Torres made runs when Steven Gerrard got the ball. They didn’t even have to look.
“Teams are sitting back against Arsenal, and they don’t have the creativity in midfield to break them down.
“If Partey doesn’t play, Ozil can’t play. Without Partey, Arsenal are not going to dictate the midfield, and then can’t afford to play with 10 men. But if Arsenal have the midfield, and Ozil is playing behind Aubameyang, with two flying wingers. You ask the back four to stay still, including the full-backs.
“You’d play Granit Xhaka next to Partey, then Ozil in front, then have Aubameyang central, Bukayo Saka on the left, and try and get a tune out of Nicolas Pepe. Get the ball to Ozil, and before you know it, if you make runs, he’ll find you.”
Do Arsenal fans agree?
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