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Friday, 21 February 2014

Arsenal: Is it time to drop Mesut Ozil?

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Mesut Ozil's arrival in August sent the Arsenal fans delirious. After years of seeing the likes of Vieira, Henry, Nasri, Adebayor, Fabregas and Robin van Persie walk out of the door in search of honours, here we had a proven world class star stroll into the Emirates.

However, over the past few months, Ozil has infuriated Gooners around the world with an alarming dip in form. The German has never been renowned for his goalscoring exploits but his ability to set up his colleagues has been his main attribute. Unfortunately, after a bright start to life at Arsenal, that side of his game has dried up and Ozil is currently a shadow of the man we all know he can be. 

On Wednesday night he had the chance to kick-start his career at Arsenal with an early penalty kick against his old school friend Manuel Neuer. The home fans held their breath as the midfielder put the ball down on the spot - and many questioned the decision to allow him to take it considering his current form and previous penalty miss in the competition. His staggered approach failed to bamboozle Neuer who swatted away Ozil's weak attempt with ease.

OzilThat set up another frustrating night for the German, who failed to track his man at key periods, showed a lack of passion and effort and misplaced numerous passes. 

There's no denying that Ozil is a world class player - he's played for Real Madrid for God's sake (mind you, they did once sign Julian Faubert on loan from West Ham and Emmanuel Adebayor). The old adage is, form is temporary, class is permanent, and that does ring true for Ozil. 

But does Wenger have the balls to give his record signing a rest?

Arsenal are still in the hunt for the Treble - although their Champions League hopes currently hang by a thread. Can they really afford to drop Ozil? And how would it affect the German?

Well at the moment it looks crystal clear that Ozil should be benched. He hasn't scored since December 8 against Everton and, like Giroud, it appears that the relentless demands on players in England has taken its toll on him. 

Remember this is a player who is conditioned to recharge his batteries every winter. Not play two games a week for months at a time. Ozil is clearly running on empty and we will not see the best of him in this situation.

As for Wenger, well he has a number of options up his sleeve. Despite being without Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby, Wenger has the option of throwing on Rosicky or Ozil's compatriots Gnabry or Podolski. Both Rosicky and Gnabry would give Arsenal a bit of energy in midfield, both defensively and offensively, while Podolski would give the team an added goal threat. They may not be as naturally talented as Ozil, but they would put in twice as much heart and effort.

Wenger, though, needs to weigh up his options properly. He needs to know what is going on inside Ozil's mind. Would dropping Ozil crush his confidence or would it be the rest he needed? That's ultimately for the manager to decide. 

But if you were in Wenger's boots, what would you do with Mesut Ozil? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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