The Mesut Ozil situation has been simmering for months and it now threatens to boil over, just as Arsenal face a crucial Europa league tie at the Emirates this coming Thursday (21/02/19 -17.55)
It’s rumoured that Emery has issues with the German midfielder and as a result, his role within the squad has been limited but the North London club have a must win match against Bate Borisov.
The last outing in Belarus, without Ozil, showed a distinct lack of creativity and many are now insisting that the number 10 plays.
Failure to win handsomely, will place pressure on the Spanish coach and should they not reverse the result and their chief playmaker remain absent, the dissent from some quarters may intensify.
No one knows the reasons behind the stand off but it is starting to become increasingly toxic.
The midfielder, apparently injured, then ill, recently managed to bring his tally of non attendances to 100 matches.
On his apparent wages, reported to be £350,000 per week, that equates to £3,500 for every match missed.
From my own personal point of view, I don’t care who’s right or wrong, I just want Arsenal to perform.
If that is without Ozil long term, then so be it but let’s at least try to get the best of him before he’s shipped out in the summer.
Can we afford a continuation of uninspired, insipid and dysfunctional performances, that essentially boil down to lack of creativity, when Ozil is either sat on the bench or on his sofa earning a kings ransom.
I’m not siding with the player or manager, I just want an outcome that benefits Arsenal football club on the pitch.
In regard of Tonight’s match,
I fully expect Ozil to start against Bate, it would be incredibly reckless to leave him out, when the first leg performance was so dire.
He may not turn it on against a team of butchers and plumbers but can Emery afford to take the chance when he has so little inventiveness at his disposal.
Yet, the German has featured so rarely recently, is a return to creative brilliance even remotely possible, when his fitness and confidence are in question.
It all makes for an interesting team selection and the outcome will either condemn or justify that decision.
I would also stop protecting Denis Suarez and throw him in the deep end.
The sum of £2m for the loan of his services from Barcelona, isn’t exactly great value, if he just gazes out from the bench.
I suspect he may be employed on the right wing, with Kolasinac on the left flank.
This would mean Ozil and Mkhitaryan in the middle, with Guendouzi and Torriera behind and a flat back four to help reduce the chances of gifting the visitors the game.
It’s the type of encounter where the script favours the dejected and despondent player, and fortune, not known for smiling on its chosen outcasts, suddenly has a weak moment and opens the door to salvation.
Bate Borisov did a number on Arsenal on their own turf, if we can loosely refer to it as such.
The frozen, lumpy and uneven surface, that probably would have been of benefit to a herd of unfussy cows, certainly gave the hosts a discernible advantage.
I remember a trip to Wimbledon’s Plough Lane for an FA cup match against Brian Clough’s Nottingham in 80’s.
Perhaps the name Plough Lane said it all, because only the home side were able to predict the path and bounce of a ball on a pitch that only schoolboys usually get the unwelcome pleasure of playing on.
This time, the second leg, will be played on a football pitch, instead of a frozen cabbage patch and that alone, indicates an Arsenal win.
In terms of preparation, an FA cup week would be an advantage but it’s an inconvenience that Emery could well do without.
His baptism in the English game has been quite unpleasant and unkind, presenting him with challenges of one kind or another at every turn.
How he must crave the summer recess and a chance to reassess without the heat of competition or glare of supporters and media.