Today, Arteta kept the fast and furious schedule of Project Restart rolling with yet another press conference. Coming off the win against Manchester City and heading into an important league match against Aston Villa, Arteta was asked about Chelsea, Villa, team news, Ozil and more. Check out the full transcript from Arsenal here.
If there is one question that Arteta has gotten in every single press conference he has done since the team resumed training and matches, that is understandably a bit irritating, it is questions surrounding Mesut Ozil. Today was no different and it appears as though Arteta is becoming rather short with it all.
on whether Mesut Ozil is likely to play against Aston Villa…
Mesut is training at the moment.
on whether that means he is likely to be involved…
Like every player that is training.
on being unclear on whether Ozil will be involved…Arsenal.com
Because I have to pick from 23 or 24 players to do the squad. I will do that this afternoon.
Figured it was best to place these quotes in the order in how it was transcribed via Arsenal.com to give the full feel of how short his responses on the matter are.
Both sides of the situation are understandable. Naturally the press and people are going to want to know what is going on with Arsenal’s highest paid player, who has yet to feature since everything resumed, but at some point, as a manager, it may be irritating to be questioned about this time and time again – especially after you have just managed your side to winning two major games without him.
What does this mean for Ozil? I guess it means he is in training.
All joking aside, the rest of the season will be an interesting and telling sign of Ozil’s future. The fact is, Arsenal built themselves into a hole when they offered Ozil that large of a contract and are stuck with it. We can all rant and rave at Ozil to “get out of the club”, but thats not quite how it all works and I think deep down we know it. He’s on high wages, which rules out a decent amount of easy options unless Arsenal are willing to still pay a good chunk of those wages and look to loan him.
In the end, in all likelihood, Arenal can try their hardest to force him out and make a move look enticing or they can accept the consequences of past leadership at the club and look to make the best of it.
Should Ozil be playing? Not if the desired formation would need to be altered just to accommodate him. The 3-4-3 is not a formation Ozil will ever fit within and if that is what Arteta believes is needed, than it won’t be a surprise when Ozil doesn’t feature.
Ozil is back to training. It can be assumed that his back ailments and fitness are returning to 1005 but that doesn’t mean Arteta will look to return to the 4-2-3-1 formation that Ozil featured in pre-pandemic. Arsenal are getting the results they need at a time when results are a must – however they can get them. Stay focused on the games at hand and commend Arteta for finding success. Ozil can adjust what he brings to game just as much as Arteta can adjust the game to meet Ozil. But right now, Arteta is getting results and the results of Ozil end at good movement and chance creation.
Personally, I don’t expect Ozil to feature anymore this year unless it is a part of a rotated squad in order to save legs for the FA Cup final against a team like Villa or Watford where Arteta believes Arsenal will dominate possession. If he does, great, I hope he performs. If he doesn’t then I can assume it is because there are others that are a better fit for how Arteta wants to play with the gaps in the squad to get wins now.