After the excuses, the thinly veiled episodes of sickness and injury and the use of tactics by way of explanation, the next few weeks will reveal the extent of the gulf between Arsenal coach Unai Emery and star midfielder Mesut Ozil.
We will actually know soon, if the German has a future at the Emirates or not, regardless of the official club waffle.
January simply doesn’t allow the club enough time to offload Ozil and plan for life after, if Emery really doesn’t fancy the player, it would be much easier to palm him off in the summer.
This whole business has tainted Emery’s fine contribution in his first full season in the premiership.
He has been at a disadvantage from the get go and working with ageing and inferior resources, he still managed to get Arsenal moving in a positive direction.
That has obviously stuttered since a 22 match unbeaten run and a magnificent 4-2 win over Spurs.
Since then an Ozil appearance in an Arsenal shirt has been as rare as Ant Mc Partlin on the TV schedule.
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The things going on between Ozil and his manager are being closely guarded by the club but every excuse and possible explanation has been exhausted and the decision not to play their main creative asset will eventually be seen as a rejection of the player himself.
It’s easy to make these assumptions but believe me, I have heavily resisted the urge to jump to conclusions and anyone following the Highbury Flyer will know that we have gone along with the official version of events.
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However, there comes a time when it’s difficult to swallow and that was probably against Spurs, although that result worked well for the club and justified the exclusion.
Not so lately, Arsenal’s performances have tailed off and looked distinctly average, without finesse, style or creativity and supporters are asking why a cash strapped club, is paying in the region of £350,000 per week, to let its star sit on his backside, either at his luxury home or on the bench.
It’s not just a case of the money, the fans argument is that with the current dearth in midfield, how is it possible to leave out the one person that could theoretically solve their creative problems.
Sky pundit, Jamie Redknapp, spoke to The Mail about the divide between coach and Mesut Ozil by saying :
“Unai Emery may have his issues with Mesut Ozil,”
But without him, who supplies the creativity in this Arsenal team?“
“Looking at both matchday squads on Saturday, there was little to separate Arsenal and West Ham.
“Until Aaron Ramsey — a player whose days are numbered at the club — came off the bench, Arsenal lacked a creative spark.
“If Arsenal are not going to invest, they simply cannot afford to leave out Ozil.
“Emery wants him to work harder without the ball, but in Ozil’s absence Arsenal looked toothless in possession.”
I’m starting to find this standoff between coaches and players, slightly tedious.
Part of a coach/Managers remit is to extract performances from players, whether they are average or World class but we have recently seen a number of unsavoury spats which includes Costa and Conte and Pogba and Mourinho.
You may note that those two managerial names are no longer with their employers but Emery will not follow in those footsteps should the Ozil problem persist.
Arsenal simply don’t work that way unless the entire squad found themselves at odds with the Spaniard.
Football fans know when something doesn’t feel right and at the moment, this feels about as right as an armed policeman at a siege, dressed in a Mankini and a feather boa.
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