The new Disney film ‘Frozen 2’ is about to saturate the subconscious minds of children everywhere but the title could just as easily be a metaphor for the relationship between Arsenal coach Unai Emery and midfielder Mesut Ozil, who are now in their second uncomfortable season together.
The two are like castaways on a desert island, not through choice but through circumstances and you get the impression that if they combined resources to make a raft, Emery might choose the safety of the island than share another moment with Ozil.
I’ve covered this story as much as anyone could in an effort to make sense of such a puerile situation. I’ve written endless sentences on this non relationship, which is crammed full of animosity and mistrust that neither can escape.
Emery is willing to let the player take to the field when he feels he has others in the side that will follow the game plan and he is slightly under pressure to justify his wages until January, when the MLS may take Ozil to the land of rah rah’s, pom poms, pop corn and the foot long.
In various articles of late, more snippets have come in from various sources that paint a picture of a tattered, complex relationship that is more like an untreatable open wound.
Emery’s aloofness meets indifference of Ozil. Emery’s insistence, clashes with Ozil’s defiance. Emery’s determination collides with Ozil’s stockade. With the words ‘ you are not a coach !’ still ringing in his ears, Emery uses Ozil as frugally as Hemorrhoid cream and I’m sure the experience is just as painful.
If you needed confirmation that the stalemate between the pair continues, you only had to look at how Ozil responded to his substitution against Aston Villa. He trudged off the field with his head down, sporting heavy and disappointed shoulders and added a rueful expression to the picture.
No doubt aware of the presence of the nearby camera’s which would capture every facial movement, Ozil attempted to contain his feelings but failed miserably.
It’s been said that the divide between the pair is essentially down to Emery’s insistence in a consistent work rate and inability of Ozil to deliver what’s asked of him. Whether that is because he is unable to do so or he just thinks he’s above it is unclear.
However, Per Mertesacker managed to give a credible insight into abscence of Ozil due to fitness when he said,
“I hope Mesut can get fit, Unai requires a certain fitness level. Unai is fair to everyone. You need to deliver a certain fitness level – then you are available to play.”
“Unai tries to get through to him. He talks to him. He says: ‘You need to train to a certain level every day – I need you to be fit – otherwise you are not going to play. That’s what I’ve seen. He puts him in the squad but then leaves him on the bench. If he trains to the level that’s required, he can play.”
So that’s just reinforced everyone’s theory of the root cause, Ozil doesn’t apply himself to merit inclusion in the team. Ozil doesn’t really like Emery’s methods and Emery dislikes the Germans luke warm application to his role. They are as far apart as they ever were and it’s doubtful if Ozil will even reach double figures in terms of appearances by Christmas.