Soccer

Jamie Carragher suggests Arsenal’s front three are undermining Mesut Ozil stance

Jamie Carragher has suggested Mikel Arteta's stance on Mesut Ozil is being undermined by his continued selection of Arsenal's regular front three.

Ozil, 31, remains frozen out by Arteta with the midfielder unlikely to play any further part in the season.

Arsenal's struggles in front of goal have led to calls for the German to be recalled, particularly given their rank as the least creative side in the Premier League this season.

Regardless, Arteta has stood firm, and while Carragher backs the Gunners' boss's decision, he feels the debate is not helped by the aging legs of his attacking trio.

"I understood why Arteta froze Ozil out as he does not see him suiting his playing style and the club needs him off the wage bill. It would be a mistake to perform a u-turn," Carragher told The Telegraph .

"However, the credibility of that argument is not helped when supporters see their team trying to play a high pressing game with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (aged 31), Willian (32) and Alexandre Lacazette (29)."

The Sky Sports pundit went on the explain how, at the start of their respective resurgences, both Liverpool and Man City spearheaded their pressing games' on youthful front threes – most of whom were in their early-mid twenties.

He added: " Arsenal ’s trio cannot replicate that. Last Sunday [against Tottenham ], they resembled three old professionals playing out the final few years of their careers."

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Carragher has been vocally critical of Arsenal's decision to sign Willian who, despite his advancing years, arrived on a three-year contract worth £200,000 per week.

The Brazilian has so far been unable to replicate some of the good form he showed at Chelsea, who were not prepared to give him a deal of that length.

Aubameyang's form has also been pulled into focus since he signed a new three-year extension in the summer to make him the club's second-highest earner behind Ozil.

After putting pen to paper in September following months of speculation, Aubameyang has only scored twice in the 11 matches since, with one of those coming from the penalty spot.

What is the solution to Arsenal's attacking problems? Have your say below.

It is always a risk, as Carragher noted, for teams to sign players in their thirties, which is why he believes the move to sign Willian as well "made less sense".

More crucially, Carragher pointed to the impact that strikers like Sergio Aguero have on their team's all-round performance, and criticised Aubameyang for not offering more.

"You cannot have a situation where if a striker does not score, he contributes nothing," Carragher added. "Aubameyang should be stretching defences with his pace, leading the pressing game or assisting. Then a goal drought would not be such an issue."

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