By 90Min
November 28, 2018

Ever since arriving at Arsenal, Mesut Ozil has been one of the most divisive figures in English football.

There seems to be no way to sit on the fence when it comes to evaluating the German midfielder. Either you're a fan of his crafty passing and eagle-like vision, or you cite his perceived laziness and lack of physicality as damning indictments of his inability to adapt to English football.

Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

He remains Arsenal's most technically gifted player, but his recent omission from Unai Emery's starting XI against Bournemouth was completely justified and is an example of sensible management from the Spanish manager.

Even Ozil's most loyal supporters have to admit that the former World Cup winner has been blowing hot and cold all season. For every game where he runs the show with effortless ease, he's always capable of putting in a performance where he has little no effect of proceedings. 

In the games that followed his stellar performance against Leicester in October, the 30-year-old has been pretty average and, if we evaluation those performances in isolation, then there is no reason to suggest that he is currently irreplaceable. 

That's the mantra Emery has built his early success at Arsenal upon. No one, no matter how much money they are worth, or what they have previously achieved, deserves to play if they aren't performing well.

Harking back to his time with PSG, Emery has learned his lesson when it comes it commanding a dressing room. During his time in the French capital, he admitted that he wasn't the leader at the club and that Neymar had full control over proceedings - that's something that no manager should have to deal with. 

If Emery makes a decision, that decision is final. Supporters will have to trust that he knows his players better than anybody else.


Emery has also proven that he is the sort of manager who learns from every misstep and set back. He sets his teams up in accordance with everything he has previously encountered.

Ozil was physically outmatched during Arsenal's visit to Crystal Palace at the end of October and, as Bournemouth play with a similarly combative midfield, Emery recognised that a repeat of that performance was likely to happen.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Whilst Emery's clever man management of Ozil must be commended, he must remember that there is a fine line between keeping a player on their toes and completely destroying their moral.

Time will tell as to whether Emery's tough love strategy will work in the long term, but it currently appears as though it is fully justified.

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