Mikel Arteta has revealed that he used the Dubai trip to spend one-on-one time with Mesut Ozil reviewing his recent performances.
The German has started every Premier League game since the Spaniard took over in December but hasn’t recorded any assists or goals during that period.
With the Gunners still struggling to create chances as an attacking unit, fingers have been pointed at Ozil’s downturn in effectiveness.
Claiming Ozil has been unlucky that his teammates haven’t converted some of the chances he’s created, Arteta called for patience as he looks to get the 31-year-old back to his best after a frustrating couple of years.
“I reviewed that in the last week or so,” Arteta told Sky Sports when asked about Ozil’s form.
“He has been unlucky with some of the times that he has put people through and they have not scored. Things like that would have made stats a little bit different.
“But you don’t go from where he was to where he can be in five weeks, I’m sorry.
“Even when you really want to do it, it doesn’t always go that way. You have to be so constant. But he is trying so hard and he is very willing.”
It’s quite obvious that Ozil is suffering from a dearth of confidence at the moment. Arteta maintains that while the midfielder pulls his weight, he’s open to setting up the team to accommodate his unique talent.
“I think it goes both ways,” says Arteta. “The team cannot have the right structure to support him if he doesn’t do some of those non-negotiables.
“If he does them, then the team can afford to have someone like him to make the difference.
In some moments, he has come very close to what I would like to see from him on the pitch.”
While Joe Willock offers an alternative to Ozil, it’s fair to say that competition for that number 10 role at Arsenal is not what it used to be.
Once upon a time Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky were all chomping at the bit for a chance behind the strikers. It definitely feels like an area of the pitch that Arsenal will look to strengthen in the summer.