Today, Arteta gave his prematch conference in the lead up to Brighton at the weekend where he faced an array of questions over Luiz, his future, Ozil, his future and more… read the full transcript.
After going over Luiz and his future, the conversation quickly shifted to Mesut Ozil who not only didn’t feature in the game, but wasn’t even selected for the squad for “tactical reasons”.
Today, Arteta said:
“I have been very open with Mesut from day one. Since I joined I thought that he was fit and he was willing and he wanted to perform at the level he can do. He has played every game with me I think. So that it is. The moment I see that he is ready again to do that, I will treat him like anybody else. I think I have been more than fair with him and I think he has responded in many games the way I want. That’s it.”
With the suggestion that this was clearly a fitness problem, people naturally wonder why the £350k-a-week star wasnt ready.
“There’s a lot that’s happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the time for every player. Sometimes they need a little bit of time. It’s been difficult preparation the last two months to get players ready and again, I’m the first one who wants Mesut at the best. I’m going to put him on the pitch when I think he can give his best.”
In continuing to pry, journalists asked how Ozil responded to not being selected. While Arteta remained vague and private, he did say “He was very well with me. There were no issues at all.” It’s a response that could simply be a tactic to say things are fine between Arteta and Ozil or it could be suggesting that Ozil also agrees he is not ready to play.
What will likely remain a mystery is what Arteta means by, “There’s a lot that’s happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the time for every player.”
Tough to say what this means for the weekend’s matchup with Brighton but Arsenal could use someone to help unlock that the Brighton defense and a veteran talent to help the midfield that is currently in a tough place with injuries to Xhaka and question marks surrounding Torreria.
It was clear that the Guendouzi, Ceballos, Willock trio looked a little lost of options under the structure and press of City.