Arsenal’s results have started gradually improving since Mikel Arteta took over from Unai Emery in December. Much more seems to be in place than before. There are clear ideas being implemented on the pitch, with every player working as hard as he can to fulfill the task given to him. However, it is the job of every manager to take constant looks at the squad at his disposal and ponder possible improvements; what needs to be strengthened, who are the players potentially not up to the standards required, would there be enough depth without them, and who could possibly take their places.
Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette have both spoken out in praise of Mikel Arteta and the changes his arrival brought into the Arsenal team.
First of all, it should be pointed out that the results still aren’t great. After the sacking of Unai Emery in November, the team spent a month in the hands of Freddie Ljungberg as an interim solution, until Arteta arrived and took the reins on December 22. Since then, Arsenal have played nine games in all competitions, winning three, drawing five and losing one.
It’s fair to say that having arrived in the summer for £72 million, Nicolas Pepe’s impact at Arsenal can be rightfully described as underwhelming, disappointing even. The 24-year-old winger has scored only four times in 20 appearances in all competitions so far.
The newly appointed boss Mikel Arteta has provided some explanation to that. Every player needs the right environment to settle into new surroundings, and Arteta believes Pepe found himself in a situation very different than that when he came. The atmosphere in the team and the rest of the club seemed far from stable even looking from the outside, and as the season unfolded, it only got worse with Unai Emery’s future at the club less certain with every passing week and controversies around different players popping up here and there.
Mesut Ozil made his third start of the season in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup away to Liverpool on Wednesday, and he was one of the standout performers in both teams, despite Arsenal failing to move on to the next round. It was certainly a thrilling game, given it saw 10 goals scored, and it eventually came down to penalties in which Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher managed to save the effort of Dani Ceballos, providing an advantage his teammates capitalized on.
In the wake of Arsenal’s dramatic 3-2 win over Vitoria last night, Gunners boss Unai Emery gave his thoughts on the game – but many were more focused on the issues surrounding Mesut Ozil, as seen on Arsenal.com.
There has been a lot of talk about the situation in which Mesut Ozil finds himself at the moment. The 31-year-old has played only two times this season, and many believe his time at Arsenal is all but over. Some are saying the reason behind it is that he doesn’t fit in with manager Unai Emery’s tactical ideas, while others,the club’s head of football Raul Sanllehi being one of them, claim he isn’t putting enough effort in training.
However, the player himself feels differently. Speaking exclusively to David Ornstein, formerly of BBC and now with The Athletic, Ozil said that when talking to people in the streets, he always makes it clear he isn’t going anywhere because this is his home.
As reported by the Mirror, AC Milan and Inter Milan are both heavily interested in signing Arsenal’s outcast Mesut Ozil.
Ozil made only three appearances in all competitions this season and his relationship with manager Unai Emery is said to be severely damaged. He hasn’t even been named on the bench for the last several games, and Emery explained it more than once, saying that it was a decision unrelated to his fitness and that other players, those that were included, deserved it more than Ozil.
Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil both look set to move on from Arsenal in the near future, with neither of the two Germans having a place in the team under manager Unai Emery.
Mustafi has been out of favour for a while, and truth be told, he did very little to change Emery’s mind when he was on the pitch. His consistently poor performances have been an unmissable part of Arsenal’s woeful defending in the last several seasons, and with the return of Rob Holding from injury and Calum Chambers from loan, as well as the arrival of David Luiz from Chelsea, there simply isn’t a place for him anymore.
Arsenal beat Standard Liege at the Emirates by 4-0 in the second round of Europa League Group F. The result has now strengthened the Gunners’ hold over the top spot with six points and they are now properly separated from the Belgian team, who trail away together with Eintrach Frankfurt on three, with Vitoria Guimaraes sitting pointless at the bottom. It was young Gabriel Martinelli who opened the scoring after 13 minutes, and added a second only three minutes later. Joe Willock added the third in the 22nd, and Dani Ceballos set the final score in the 57th.
The chaos and tension surrounding Mesut Ozil has been in the air for quite some time now. Some fans have suggested that he isn’t the player he once was, whereas others believe that there’s still a good chance he could reignite his career and really start proving himself as the world class player we all once considered him to be.
Alas, with the latest talk around the club being that he could be loaned out sooner rather than later, we have to question whether or not that’s the right move. It’s almost obvious at this stage to suggest Unai Emery isn’t the German international’s biggest fan, even though he’s had a few notable moments for the Gunners during his tenure with the club.