Arsenal boss Unai Emery has demanded an increased defensive awareness from Mesut Ozil as he encouraged the midfielder to take greater responsibility in tracking back this season.
Ozil, 29, has often been on the receiving end of criticism for his lack of effort off the ball, and a poor performance in the Gunners' opening day defeat to Manchester City has once again opened the midfielder up to criticism after going missing in another big game.
When asked about Ozil's defensive duties Emery failed to hold back as he said in his pre-match press conference, via the Mirror: “Every player needs to do [that] in the true moment of a match.
"There are defensive moments and attacking moments. Every player each needs this commitment.
It would be better to drop Ozil and Mkhitaryan than to expect em to track down the runs of Hazard and Pedro.— Dr. OddzG (@Oddzgods) August 16, 2018
"For me, we need to start together, whether we are attacking or defending. I want that from every player. The positioning, he [Ozil] is playing all his career like a ten, like a right winger going inside to receive the ball.
“It’s clear he needs the ball more to give more options in attack. He needs to do in each match, be demanding for us. Defensive moments are for each and every player. Don’t change Mesut Ozil in his positioning.”
Emery is expecting yet another stern test against the Blues and revealed he could look to field both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the off as he looks to secure his first points of the season.
“The possibility to play Aubameyang and Lacazette is okay because we are trying like that in pre-season and also last year they played together also," he added.
“Each match is different, each match is a different possibility. Against Manchester City, the last 25, 30 minutes they played together. For me it is to find good balance for all that we want in attacking moments and defensive moments.
“I want to give them the chances in each match and maybe we need a lot of matches for the chances for every player but we started with the pre-season and every player is playing for chances and minutes and with all the competitions."