Mesut Ozil is set to return for Arsenal after a month out with a back injury.
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Ozil, 30, hasn’t featured since November 11 in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Wolves, as Emery left him on the bench for the game at Bournemouth on Nov. 25 due to the match demanding “physicality and intensity.”
Soon after news arrived about Ozil’s injury.
Speaking about Ozil’s fitness ahead of their UEFA Europa League clash at home against Qarabag on Thursday, Emery revealed the German playmaker is likely to return to action.
“After his injuries, he is OK,” Emery said. “He is in the group for tomorrow – we need him to help us with his quality. It is the first game after these injuries, when he can help us. It is a good day for a lot of players – in the group we are first but we want to win, and also with a good performance.”
Ozil has become the forgotten man at Arsenal, as the Gunners are on a 21-game unbeaten run in all competitions and sit in fifth place in the Premier League table.
Arsenal is just two points back of third-place Tottenham and they are in a genuine scrap to finish in the top four this season. With the likes of Granit Xhaka, Mateo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira fighting for the central spots in a 3-4-3 formation, plus Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette guaranteed starters, it is hard to see how Ozil is actually going to get back into this revamped Arsenal side.
The defensive pressing Emery wants from his players, especially his midfielders, just doesn’t suit Ozil’s game, and after signing his huge long-term contract in January it is unlikely he will leave Arsenal anytime soon.
Ozil must be ready to become a bit-part player in the coming months for Arsenal, as Emery will try to find a way to slot him into the team but right now that would upset the entire balance of this well-oiled machine.