Arsenal’s season so far part two: Rumbling Ozil saga dividing the fanbase
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With Arsenal returning to action on Monday following the internatioanl break, now is a good time to reflect on Arsenal’s season so far, what’s gone well and the issues that still need to ironed out. In part two, Harry Symeou looks at the Mesut Ozil saga.
Unai Emery continues to overlook the clubs highest earner Mesut Ozil, with the German having been omitted from the squad for the fixtures against Manchester United, Standard Liege and Bournemouth in recent weeks
Whilst many have been frustrated by the German's performances since his big money arrival in 2013, it's difficult not to believe there has been some sort of disagreement between Ozil and Unai Emery.
In terms of his talent, Ozil certainly warrants a place in the 18-man matchday squad, but its his application and attitude in training that's reportedly been the issue.
As recently as January 2018, Arsenal handed Ozil a contract worth a reported £350k-per-week which would see him stay at the club until 2021.
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It's highly unlikely any of Europe's top clubs would be willing to pay that sort of money to a player who's played very little football and has failed to deliver with any consistency over the past few seasons.
It's looks increasingly unlikely either side will back down and is another issue looming over the club and continuing to divide the fan base.
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Arsenal narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification last season via the Premier League and were heavily beaten in the UEFA Europa League final by London rivals Chelsea, and that collapse has seen questions asked of Emery and his staff.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are in disarray, two of Arsenal's direct rivals in the hunt for a top four finish. Chelsea under Frank Lampard are navigating their way through a transitional period, relying on young players who will no doubt suffer with inconsistency throughout various points in the season.
At this point, Arsenal are expected to finish in the top four given the plights and managerial uncertainties plaguing some of their closest rivals. Anything less than Champions League qualification would be seen as a disappointment and could ultimately cost Emery his job.
When you compare Emery's first 44 games in charge to Arsene Wenger's last 44, you could be forgiven for concluding the progress has in fact been minimal.
The Gunners are far from being the finished article, but their ability to maintain mediocrity alone could be enough to seal a top four position come the end of this campaign - a sad indictment of where the Premier League and Arsenal are at.