Arsenal: Arteta previews Premier League clash with Burnley
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has hinted he could hand Mesut Ozil a recall to his squad in January. The Gunners host Burnley on Sunday having lost three of their last four Premier League matches.
Arsenal have slipped to 15th place in the table after alarmingly losing six of their opening 11 games.
And the Gunners’ attack has failed to fire, with Arteta’s side having scored just one goal in four top-flight matches, and stars such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Willian coming under fire for below-par performances.
A big part of the problem has been a lack of creativity from midfield – as highlighted by last weekend’s defeat to Tottenham, when Arsenal couldn’t break down their rivals’ defensive set-up despite having the much greater share of possession.
This has led to calls for Arteta to end Ozil’s exile team from the team, with the 32-year-old not having played since March.
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The £350,000-per-week midfielder was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europe League squads for the first part of the season, but could be reinstated in January.
And Arteta refused to rule that out when quizzed about the former Germany international ahead of Saturday’s Emirates clash against the Clarets.
“He’s not in the squad right now,” said the manager. “I’m focusing just on the players we have here.
“But, whatever happens in January, we have some time to decide.”
Club legend Paul Merson urged Arteta to apologise to Ozil for freezing him out and bring him back into the fold next month.
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Writing in his column for The Star, the two-time title-winner said Arsenal never looked like scoring in their 2-0 defeat to Jose Mourinho’s side, and will likely struggle without Ozil against Burnley on Sunday.
“Arsenal could still be playing Tottenham NOW and they wouldn’t have scored a goal,” Merson wrote.
“What can they do in January to fix it? Go and knock on Mesut Ozil’s door, say you’re sorry and you need him to play!
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“I’m not saying play him against Manchester City or Liverpool, when you’re not going to see much of the ball.
“But against teams like Spurs or Burnley, he can get on the ball and dictate things and make a few decent chances.”
Merson added: “They could re-register him in January. They’re missing a trick if they don’t.”
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