Emery’s answers cast doubts over Ozil’s absence

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While yesterday’s 4-2 win over Sp*rs remains the focus this morning, Unai Emery’s answers to questions about the absence of Mesut Ozil were interesting to say the least.

The official line before the game was that he had a ‘back spasm’, but not for the first time this season there were suggestions there might have been more to the situation than that.

Back in August Ozil was missing from the squad for the 3-1 win over West Ham and well sourced stories of a training ground bust-up emerged. Similar stories did the rounds yesterday and in his post-game press conference Emery didn’t exactly put them to bed.

“He has a backache,” he said, when asked if one of his five captains this season could play.

When asked when the back-ache had occurred, his reply was “I don’t know”, and when asked if he had attended the game, he said, “I don’t know. It’s a good day to speak about the players who were playing.”

Which is very true, but it’s inevitable that when a player of Ozil’s profile is missing a manager will be asked about him. When his replies then raise more questions, and when the manager doesn’t even know if the player was at the stadium on North London derby day, it’s a story that necessitates coverage.

Will he be fit and available for the trip to Old Trafford? We should get more on that as the week progresses.

Today’s Arseblog on yesterday’s glorious win

Arsenal 4-2 Sp*rs: Emery makes it right as Gunners rout the old enemy

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Nikhil Agarwal
Nikhil Agarwal

I am a huge Özil fan but an even bigger Arsenal fan. This whole situation is sad, I must admit.

GoonerJust
GoonerJust

I don’t think Özil will make it to the Old Trafford this Wed. Emery will bring somebody with more physicality in a game of this profile, I’m afraid….

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

Look if the highest paid player isn’t good enough to play the biggest and most important games of the season then why is he in the squad. I like Ozil, but if he doesnt feature in Unai’s plans then sell him and give the freed up salary of Ozil to Ramsay, who has his issues, sure, but atleast he doesn’t lack bottle for the big games.

Martin
Martin

Ramsey

Hantal
Hantal

‘Just sell him’ isn’t as easy as it sounds.
We’d need an buyer that A) wants him, B) can afford him C) can pay his wages D) is high profile enough to suit Ozils own plans

Already a very small list

Homer
Homer

This is a ridiculous comment. Just… wow. Bottle for big games?…Ozil not a big game player is simply foolish. And demonstrably wrong. (Here’s one clue: world cup winner, and dominant in that tournament. Many more examples exist.)

Ozil is a world class footballer. One of the few Arsenal has in its squad. Sell Ozil and use the money for Ramsey – what? This is, ya know, reality and not a video game.

Ozil seems to have a history of this sorta physical thing so its not all that surprising. While these sorts of pointless, mindless articles are not the sort of thing one typically finds in this space, its not exactly muckraking meedja nonsense, either, but close. (And disappointing, blogs.)

In Ozil Arsenal has a world class footballer. All this bandwagon, English “Phorooarr!…run about and get stuck in lad!!!” bullshit is so cliche, and taking on a life of its own. A talent like Ozil any sane person wants in Arsenal’s squad, not a competitor’s.

And Ramsey is a totally different player. Yes, he’s playing well now – with his limited time and added rest. Lest we forget his injury record is very poor. His history is also replete with low energy, average performances – like most players. He’s not suddenly a world beater. He is, obviously, a fine player and one of Wenger’s better projects and is improving. Its clear that the club letting him go for free makes no sense, and is a very poor choice considering his obvious ability and cup winning history with Arsenal. One hopes there is some room to offer him a new deal (which probably won’t happen, sadly). But none of this is reason to falsely and needlessly slag off Ozil.

We’re off the back of a dominant NLD, rollicking, win and going to Old Toilet in a few days where, for the first time in a long time, we should be confident of tonking merdinho and the clowns that play for him. There are bigger fish to fry.

Moxrex
Moxrex

Agreed. Ozil’s record against Barcelona and Athletic Madrid speaks for itself. We need to understand that all he needs is to have the team built around him or where he is appreciated for what brilliance he brings to the pitch rather than expecting him to do what we love here in UK (Running, tackling, passion only).

The only option for us would be to sell Ozil since we don’t appreciate what he brings. Let him go to those teams who have world class players all around so that he can continue being the assist king. Here we have to add the sum to get the result out.

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

Pogba gets criticized at Man U. Fans praise and criticize. This is normal life. Henry and Bergkamp the most known world class players we’ve had were almost never criticized because they took on their own to win games for the team. The fact that Henry still has the record of assists in a season in front of Ozil and Fabregas tells you how high they set the bar. Auba is clearly our best player not Ozil. Me, I place Laca second best but this is debatable.

Santori
Santori

There’s no best player.

This is a team effort.

Its been a problem before because we prioritise certain players over other.

Torreira is nothing without Granit .Vice versa.

Aubameyang is not our best player. He scores a lot of goals but he can clearly be even more lethal.

He cannot do certain things Lacazette can.

Ramsey is not suddenly indispesable bc of one performance.

Ozil has plenty to offer the team and has been excellent this season weighing in with goals and assists so far.

Problem is too many people are polemic and decide A vs B.

As I have said many times all this formation issue at the end of the day is moot.

Unai will tinker to get the best out of the team but it depends on the players in the end to get the best out of the tactics on hand.

AND the tactical set up of course dictates the selection not who is best.

BUT we need all our options. One day one player is the best option for the particular scenario, another it will be someone-else.

This keeps us flexible and difficult to predict which is what Unai wants.

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

If the concept of best player doesn’t exist then Henry wasn’t our best player at his time. Messi isn’t Barcelona’s best. Ronaldo wasn’t best at Real and same for Hazard at Chelsea.

Tungor_Adams
Tungor_Adams

Özil is not performing close to Level required for being our highest paid player, period. He knows all to well the heights of is past days, and I agree he has been a superb playmaker, but history and present are 2 very different things!!! You can’t play someone because he won the World Cup 6 years ago, or keep a manager that gave us the invincibles – present is what counts, and the desire to make present your best history

Red-Wing
Red-Wing

I would go with the same lineup as against Tottenham, but with Guendouzi instead of Xhaka (banned) and Ramsey instead of Mkhitaryan. Would leave Lacazette on the bench as we could really need him in the second half (he’s our only attacking option to change the game, if Ozil’s “injured”), but it’s a tough call.

Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

Ramsey, as good as he was yesterday is not good enough in transition. Mkhi will start.

Flummoxed
Flummoxed

He assisted or pre assisted both goals in transition yesterday…

Chamakhyungpark
Chamakhyungpark

You are right about having Lacca on the bench. But I would like to see at some point the formation we had with Ramsey and Lacca on the Pitch but with Ozil playing in a 5 2 1 2. I think the back five with Torriera and Xhaka is the best formation for those players. Kola is a lot better as a wing back and all our CB’s play better in a 3. Ozil plays central and Lacca and Auba bang them in.

clins
clins

i wonder if this will be the go to formation against big teams. against smaller oppostion i guess we will change back to back four to put more midfielders on the field. anyway i trust emery knows what he is doing

PeteyB
PeteyB

There is an inherent flexibility to the back 3/5 though, against weaker opposition the wingers naturally spend more time supporting attack and less defending, and both Torreira and Xhaka have shown they are able to contribute in the final third.

I’m also of the opinion that this formation (3-4-1-2, or 5-2-1-2 depending on how you see it) may get the best of the bunch we have and I’d like to see it played from the start for a while. Downside is there isn’t really space for Iwobi who’s mostly been going OK… even yesterday I thought he was Ok before being taken off.

PeteyB
PeteyB

I also very much like the look of 3-4-1-2 (or 5-2-1-2 depending on how you see it). I understand the point about going to a back 4 against weaker teams but I don’t think it would really be necessary. In such games the wingbacks naturally would spend more time going forward and both Xhaka and Torreira have shown themselves to be able contributors in the final 3rd.

A Different George
A Different George

I think one of Emery’s main reasons for the 3 yesterday was that he thought (correctly) that Spurs would use a diamond midfield, which is very narrow and sacrifices the wings for a strong midfield. So, if your back three plus Xhaka/Torreira can avoid being overrun and can pass out quickly, it leads to huge openings for Kolasinac and Bellerin on the outside, and 2 v 1 situations against Aurier and Davies–the Spurs’ centre halfs unable to help because of the constant threat of the ball over the top to Aubameyang.

jon

José Mourinho made a string of changes (some of them rather incomprehensible) for their match at Southhampton this weekend. With Unai always having a surprise up his sleeve, this could be an interesting Wednesday line-upwise. I think Arsenal’s attack scares most teams these days, and ManU might well start with a back five. Arsenal might go 3-5-3 and field all the most creative players – Özil, Torreira, Iwobi, Ramsey, Mkhitaryan – at the same time.

It’s not going to be easy at Old Trafford. ManU still commands a loyal, noisy, full stadium. Their players are still excellent, although their manager tries to suck all confidence out of them on at daily basis.

Santori
Santori

3 will depend on Mustafi.

He had a kock and we need to also consider long term.

With Koscielny still only just working back in we need to sheperd our options at Cback carefully.

If we have to go to 4 at the back, there is certainly room for Ozil or indeed Ramsey.

I would say it is not definite that we must start Ramsey.

It depends what Emery sees in training. If Ozil is channeling his frustration in a positive way, it may be just the player to unleash against an unsuspecting Manure and end the special case’s reign.

…that would be rather sweet.

Santori
Santori

knock not kock…

David C
David C

we look much better with the back 3. If that means no Ozil then too bad. I think Ozil slows the game down too much for Emery…

How great were the wing-backs yesterday! More of that please.

A Different George
A Different George

The wing-backs were great yesterday because Spurs played a narrow diamond midfield four. I cannot imagine a competent manager attempting that against Arsenal again after he watches the film of yesterday’s match.

Tony Adams Nose
Tony Adams Nose

I would love to see Sok, Rob and Kozzy as our back three when the latter is fit. Torreria, Xhaka (or Guendouzi) in mid with Hector and Sead bombing forward on the wings. It has solidity and pace.
There is no place in this team for Mhika IMO and Ozil needs to prove on the pitch why he should be picked. We all know what he can do when he is on his game but there is no room for passengers.
We are coming to the business end of the season and only the best should start. Ramsey needs to play like he did yesterday when he starts a game as he only seems to shine coming off the bench.
We can score against anyone but we must stop conceding first half goals and making it so difficult for ourselves. Without that soft goal and the pen that never was, we would have beaten the spuds 4-0. They were comprehensively outplayed in the second half and this has to start with the first whistle.

Absolut
Absolut

Perfectly said. I want Ozil to be a part of our success. He is too talented not to be involved. Surely seeing his team enjoy that amazing win would make him want a piece of that.

emob
emob

Then he needs to shape up. 2 or 3 months of production every season is too little.

Old Stoger
Old Stoger

corrected* 2 or 3 games

afan
afan

leopards cant change there spots

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

Ozil did like a few pictures on Instagram so surely that means things aren’t that bad right? It means he’s not bitter about the teams success that too without him in the team. But I guess if he wasn’t there watching in person, it’s not looking great.

Timsh
Timsh

If he’s nursing a back problem he was probably told to rest in bed…

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi

Emery was hired to get the job done and he should be left alone to do the best he can the best way he thinks.

Never Happen
Never Happen

I guess there are no escaping the
questions but I imagine it must be
frustrating for Unai after a win like
that.

Mesut is an important player for us
but yesterday wasn’t about him

A Different George
A Different George

Yeah, I don’t think Emery’s answers meant “Ozil is not really injured.” I think they meant “why are you asking me about this when the 14 players who actually were on the pitch just played brilliantly, when the atmosphere at the stadium was fantastic, when we smashed our rivals, when North London is red.”

Bould's smile
Bould's smile

Can’t read to much into what Emery said in his post-match interview, because he probably was still boiling inside.

yen
yen

I’d still give Özil the benefit of the doubt. I can imagine Emery was in no mood after such performance to answer questions related to someone who wasn’t part of it.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Not being at the game is strange, no matter how it’s played out. Unless his back ache was so bad he couldn’t make it, in which case he’s on the injured list and not to be seen for a while.

Billy
Billy

To be fair, if he has a back spasm he probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed let alone be at the Emirates

Pedant
Pedant

I hope it is just a back spasm and he gets over it quickly.

I suspect that Emery is trying to say the situation is a pain in the back(side).

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

He sure had a lot of these ‘back spasms’.

Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

he was not missed yesterday. Or the game before or the game before…

Upforgrabsnow
Upforgrabsnow

I’d rather have Rambo than Ozil.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

I’m not Ozil’s biggest fan.
But we should not right him off completely. He is talented and can be very good at times.
Will get him on when facing defensive sides probably. He can gives solution with his passing qualities.
In high intensity games however, Emery can shake up the line up.

ppl should get used to him becoming a squad player.

Donald's Trump
Donald's Trump

A squad player on double the rest of the team. Just cut him loose.

Spend some on Rambo who at least has balls, and the rest on someone who suits the high intensity game we are trying to implement.

Homer
Homer

The only thing more ludicrous than that comment is your avatar name.

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

I agree with everything except the last line. I don’t think he’s a squad player the way Welbeck or Elneny are. But certainly there’s no reason he starts everytime and equally no reason to discard him altogether.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Isn’t that exactly what a squad player is though?

Mekus
Mekus

Exactly..

karl
karl

Ozil is a breathtaking talent in the right circumstances, but there is rarely a place for his kind of no10 in the Premier League. Sadly, I cannot recall when he made a difference against a top 6 side. Bergkamp showed you how to bring that kind of ability to the big games with more application.

Alex
Alex

He goaled and/or assisted against the top 6, sometimes more than once…

LacaNewSigning
LacaNewSigning

Doesn’t Chelsea count as a “big 6” team?

https://youtu.be/A8h8yz1Qbas

Devlin
Devlin

Man of the match in the same game last season. He has been part of wins against all top 6 sides since he arrived. Nobody really mentions our successes. All the build up to this game was about how good Shit are, nobody mentioned that they last won at the Emirates in 2010.

Alex
Alex

Last season he played with back’s problems. His agent said it, Wenger said it even some weeks ago that he wanted to play but the docs told him to go back home, that he played with a suffering back against Atletico. THAT is the reason, nothing from the Mail or the Sun or weird brains.
This is worrying for him and the rest of his career: having discs in your back that can “slide” and hurt are even sometimes hard to operate.

btw
btw

Sometimes?… surgery is pretty much last resort territory for back issues, for good reason.

Rich
Rich

Ozil is finished, the same as Sanchez, they’ve both signed their last big contracts and downed tools.
Ozil just doesn’t look hungry to me, and one brilliant game against Leicester doesn’t warrant his inclusion, I think he’ll be moved on at the earliest opportunity, he’s the definition of a player who’s just cruising.
Emery is a dream come true, I’ve been called stupid and told I don’t understand football, but it seems our new manager is also stupid and and doesn’t understand football…..
If we can get Ozil out the door next month? Hopefully we can convince Rambo to sign for less? By convincing him of Emery’s project?
From what I’ve seen from Emery so far, I can see him ruthlessly disposing of any player who doesn’t fit into the way he wants his teams to play, the days of having a manager with blind loyalty to players without 100% commitment are well and truly over.

A Different George
A Different George

So let me make it clear: I am not calling anyone stupid, but Emery does understand football, and you don’t. I thought it would be good to start Torreira yesterday, and so did Emery. That doesn’t qualify me as a brilliant tactician. You think Ozil should not start and he did not start yesterday (though he was probably injured). That doesn’t mean Emery agrees with anything you have said.

NexPress
NexPress

Show him the door (if someone will take him!) and invest in Ramsey for the number 10 position with Auba and Laca leading the line. Should have taken that £1m a week contract in China and done everyone a favour.

PVS
PVS

As someone who is physically fit and an ex-national swimmer, I can feel the pain. Three months back had a back spasm. I’m still recovering and working out is scary right now, I feel I could pull the muscle at any time. I wish he recovers well. He has the best doctors too. So while I won’t worry, I can confirm this, the timeline of the matches he is missing isn’t suspicious to me. It seems genuine.

Just a perspective of someone reeling from back spasms.

bazza_wick
bazza_wick

Ozil as we know is a gifted footballer in the advance section of the game but its becoming more obvious the manager wants the donkey work doing too i’m not sure he fits into Emerys stlye he wants

Tony Adams Nose
Tony Adams Nose

This is true. Just look at Lacca clearing the ball out of our area in the closing stages of yesterday’s game. It’s a part of Emery’s game to track back, help out and see games out. I have no doubt’s about Ozil’s ability but I would sub him off in the last ten if we were winning one nil against anyone.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it; I don’t give a sh*t.
Priority is the team, the club, the future and ultimately I’m backing Emery to make the right decisions for that, regardless of the collateral damage, such as that of fan favourite Ozil.

We’re moving in the right direction, and if Ozil doesn’t like that, he can move in his own direction.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

here here.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

*hear.
never mind.

Tinygiant
Tinygiant

As with Sanchez we will survive without Özil. I think we’re blinded by his past brilliance and our hopes of Özil regaining that form. In reality though he hasn’t delivered on a consistent basis for a long time. He has the tendency to show his genious one match and the dissapears for five.

I say sell him while we can. Get some funds for a defender and use the wages for Ramsey instead. He was our best player last year and has been great this season as well

jim wall
jim wall

Team v united…
…………………..leno……………………….
………mustafi…. Sok……. Holding…..
Bell………. Torre….. Guzz…….. Kolas..

…………………..ramsey……………………..
………lacaz…… ………auba………….

Mark
Mark

Certainly sounds like a lot more of an issue than a back ache. I think this will be a very interesting January window now that Emery really knows his squad so much better than over the Summer window. I know we aren’t going to splash the cash on new signings without players being sold so will not be surprised with one or two big sales. If he isn’t sold on Ozil then I would hope he sells him vs having our highest paid player either be on the bench or not in the squad and the questions/coverage around that all year.

Mekus
Mekus

Reality realized! Bottom line is that as much as many of us love and revere Mesut, Arsenal is not a charity organization but rather self sustaining football club. If he’s not meeting up to his huge wage earnings in his on field output then he should be disposed of and the wage realigned… That’s the reality check!

Billy
Billy

Whatever the situation, if he did leave Ozil out because he didn’t think he could play with the sort of intensity we played with last night, it’s going to be difficult for Ozil to point to that game and say “look, you should have started me”. I think Ozil is a brilliant player but we’ve had years of Ozil being the centrepiece of our side and I’m not against that changing if it improves us. The main frustration for me is that we gave a player 350k a week before we’d even hired a new manager (head coach, whatever) and gotten his view of the player. Wouldn’t we have been better off reinvesting Ozils wages in another Torreira like signing or, dare I say, renewing Ramsey’s contract? Hindsight is 20/20 but he’s our top assist provider and was a huge part of that victory last night…

afan
afan

its looking ominous for ozil, this needs to be sorted out one way or another, and quick, we cant keep going on like this

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

I wouldn’t be surprised if he did move on in January and, behind the scenes, his agent is getting something lined up for China!!! I think then arsenal might offer Ramsey a new contract but equally wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t!!! I can see both leaving in January and neither leaving in January!!!

Drew

Maybe he was actually injured? And is it the managers job to know which players are in the stands? I’d be interested to know how many managers know which players are attending the game when they are not fit to play. Personally I would rather he was concentrating on the team that could play. I love Ozil but perhaps he is suffering with his mental health? We all need to make him feel the love I think.

Benriz
Benriz

I’ve been wondering about this too. Many people also believe that back problems can be caused/aggravated by psychological issues and stress. I think he needs some time off. I also don’t really understand why people bring up his wages. The club has money. If he becomes more of a squad player, so be it. I get the rationale that the money could be re-invested in the squad but does our board always reinvest? Surely he deserves a little patience from us in any case?

Cannon and Ball and Arse'n'all
Cannon and Ball and Arse'n'all

I’ve been listening to a poll on Talksport – how many would rather keep Ramsey and sell Ozil. I think it finished 80% would rather keep Ramsey and sell Ozil.
Given the choice I’d prefer to keep Ramsey than Ozil. If Ramsey could play No.10 we’d see different player to that of the last two seasons. Ozil on his day is a world-beater, but it is not his day often enough, and I do not get the impression that he is enjoying his football.

hustle6
hustle6

Can’t lie I’ve come on here and dissed Ramsey quite a lot.
But in that match he showed why he will always be a better player for us than Ozil.
Sorry Rambo.

Wenger not signing fabregas back to allow Ozil to “grow” may be one of the biggest mistakes in recent arsenal history. Chelsea probably send us a thank you card every year.

Vonnie
Vonnie

Bloggs stirring the pot, back problems are difficult to manage. There is no reason to think it is anything but an injury which Mesut had last season, which he aggravated getting fit for an ungrateful German national team, and has been carrying since then. There have been games where you could see that he was in pain, if you were interested to look. I miss him and hope he’s better soon.

Henrik
Henrik

Backache…..conveniently something that might be over already, or last for weeks….

Lula
Lula

If there is an attitude problem then it should be on him and not the club. Ramsey looked sharoes. Play him then.

Fart Overjars
Fart Overjars

That second half vs Leicester really showed us what ozil can do in this team. He was a wizard. He seemed to step out of time and space to have a chat with the god of light before stepping back in with THAT dummy and THAT ball for the second goal.

Im excited to see more of this is the weeks ahead. He can be reintegrated and make a difference.

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi

Cloaks and daggers

Santori
Santori

I’m not sure if we have recourse to 3 at the back this Wednesday.

We may have to be cautious with Mustafi for long term considering slight knock picked up. That said he is a robust lad and will likely recover quickly.

He didn’t slide in on Son yesterday nor give up a free kick leading to a goal.

but if we have to go four at the back it will have implications further forward.

A lot will of course depend on how Emery sees relative strength and weaknesses of our next opponents. He is familiar with Moanrinho so he will be wary not to show his hand either.

If we do go 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-3-2, there will be a role for Ozil.

BUT Ramsey (even with half foot out the door) is also in contention.

To me, we should be revisiting a contract for the Welshman.

He is younger than Mhkitaryan and knows what it is to play for the shirt not least has weighed in with some superb contributions when it mattered.

I would consider selling Mhki in the summer, keep Ozil and Ramsey and continue to grow Smith-Rowe into the AM role.

Meanwhile, Ozil still has qualities to deliver for us.

BUT the message is clear. There are NO guaranteed starters.

Nor are we polemic and fixed to playing in one preferred formation.

Everything is relative and dependent on situation.

This is a big and fundamental departure from Wenger’s more Laisseiz-Faire approach.

And it looks like the team is now coming into gear and adapting to the different dictates of the manager. We can go up several gears yet.

next up United.