Arsenal have not won a game since November 1 and two Sky Sports pundits have clashed over whether re-introducing an exiled star could be part of the answer to reversing their horror run.
Mikel Arteta is under immense pressure after the Gunners slumped to a 2-1 loss to Everton, leaving them in 15th place on the ladder and with just 14 points to their name.
Arteta claimed post-game that Arsenal had simply been unlucky in the one-goal defeat, pointing out they had created enough chances to take the result.
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However, it seems like Arsenal’s poor run of form has very little to do with luck and is instead a product of uninspiring attack and a serious lack of creativity.
The predictable offence led to former footballer and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp calling for the return of Mesut Ozil.
The $630,000-a-week Gunner last played for the side back in March and clearly looks to not be part of Arteta’s plans moving forward.
Although, at this rate there are question marks over whether Arteta should even still be at the helm.
Regardless, Redknapp argued that the decision to freeze Ozil out has backfired.
“People have talked about whether Arsenal should bring Mesut Ozil in… for me, it’s a no brainer,” said Redknapp on Sky Sports.
“You are not creating chances. Does the manager look weak bringing him back in? Some will say he would, but not for me.
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“If you are creating chances while still losing games, I would say of course you don’t have to bring him in. But in games like Burnley at home, where you need someone to spot a pass for Aubameyang… Arteta tried to make a statement by not putting him in the squad, but he should take this on the chin and say it hasn’t worked.
“They should use him while they have got him. What’s the point? Being in the position they are in without Ozil just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Former Liverpool and Scotland legend Graeme Souness though argued that Arteta cannot afford to bring Ozil back given he is already struggling to prove he is in control of this Arsenal team and can get them out of the current hole.
“I would imagine that Arteta will have spoken to the directors about the Ozil situation,” he said.
“If you bring Ozil back now, he’s coming back on his terms. Arteta made a big decision that he ran by the directors.
“As long as he is sitting outside of the team, his value is going down and he’s still being paid big money. They have a diminishing asset. They will be looking at that situation and questioning the decision.
“Do they bring him back? It takes some real man-management as Mikel is involved in his first job in management. This would be a difficult job for an experienced manager. He’s got it all on to manage that situation and come out of it with his face. I’m not so sure [if Ozil should come back into the fold].
“The player coming back on his terms is never good. It diminishes his credibility and some of the players in that dressing room would use that against him.”
Souness did though take aim at Willian for one particular moment in the lead-up to the own goal which handed Everton an early lead.
In Sky Sports’ half-time analysis, Souness pointed out a “jogging” Willian and questioned why he was not pushing harder to pressure Everton’s Tom Davies.
While Willian is not the only one guilty of this, Souness said it was evident of the lack of fight in this current Arsenal team.
“I want to highlight Willian here. You’re looking to stop it,” he said.
“It comes into Tom Davies, who ends up finding Alex Iwobi. Sprint back please, sprint back! You’ve got a job to do defensively, Willian! Try and stop the cross, Willian, but he goes: “Oh, I’ll just jog towards him!”’
“When you’re defending, every player should be defending with their lives. This tells you that Arsenal are in trouble defensively and will continue to be in trouble defensively because the second goal highlights it again. It’s so avoidable. Top teams don’t concede goals like that.”
At the moment though Arsenal look a shadow of the top team they once were.