Mesut Ozil should return to Arsenal line-up to bring much-needed creativity, says Paul Merson

Karl Matchett
·2-min read
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson thinks out-of-favour Mesut Ozil should be reincorporated into the first-team set-up to help rediscover a sense of attacking threat in the team.

Mikel Arteta opted against including the German playmaker in his registered squads for the Premier League and Europa League, meaning he cannot feature in either competition until after January at the earliest.

By that time it will be almost a year since he last played for the Gunners and his contract runs out in the summer.

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But Merson says that with Thomas Partey at the heart of midfield, Arsenal have enough protection for the defence to bring the creativity back that Ozil can provide and which the team has been lacking, after scoring just two goals in the last six league games.

“For me, Mesut Ozil comes back in the team if Thomas Partey is fit. Partey gets around the pitch, dominates the midfield and dictates the game. Him playing opens up a chance for Ozil,” Merson said in his Sky Sports column.

"At the moment, Arsenal have nobody in there to provide the forwards. You can make runs all day long, but if you're a centre-forward, your runs are only as good as the players playing behind you.

"If Partey doesn't play, Ozil can't play. Without Partey, Arsenal are not going to dictate the midfield, and then can't afford to play with 10 men. But if Arsenal have the midfield, and Ozil is playing behind Aubameyang, with two flying wingers. You ask the back four to stay still, including the full-backs.

“Get the ball to Ozil, and before you know it, if you make runs, he'll find you.”

Merson went on to criticise Willian’s impact since signing from Chelsea on a free transfer, pushed the claims of Nicolas Pepe to take over on the right side in a 4-2-3-1 with Ozil in the No. 10 role and said that instead of Arteta making regular rotations, the Gunners should play the same team “for five games; if it doesn't work, it doesn't work.”

Arsenal won the FA Cup at the end of last season but have been inconsistent this term and sit 14th in the league after 10 games.

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