Arsenal must drop £42million man Mesut Ozil from the side to face Manchester United tonight if they are to reignite a title charge that has stuttered in the past few weeks.
Despite four goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season, the German’s form has dropped drastically and he now looks a shadow of the player that has shone so brightly in the past for Real Madrid and Germany.
As Liverpool devoured Arsenal 5-1 at the weekend, Ozil was nowhere to be seen. He was withdrawn for Tomas Rosicky with an hour gone, unable to influence the game.
And now Arsene Wenger must be bold and pick the reliable Rosicky to get their season back on track.
Chelsea’s 1-1 draw away at West Bromwich Albion yesterday evening means that a win against United at the Emirates would send the Gunners back to the Premier League summit.
For Wenger, the stakes are too high. The decision to drop the German could be the one that sees a nine-year trophy drought end, or for it to go on.
Rosicky is a reliable asset to the side and would fill the void perfectly. A midfield consisting of him, Jack Wilshire and Mikel Arteta should easily stifle Michael Carrick and Phil Jones and swing the battle for supremacy their way.
Ozil needs the time out to recharge. A combination of game-time from earlier in the campaign and the need to adjust to the demands of English football has left him worn and torn.
However, there can be no denying his anonymity when it comes to the bigger games. At Madrid, he seldom produced in the Clasico clashes against Barcelona or on the European scene.
It was something that irked former manager Jose Mourinho. It was also the tipping point that led to Carlo Ancelotti sanctioning his sale to Arsenal in the summer and a part of his game he must look to change.
On his day, he is a joy to watch. He glides, effortlessly, over surfaces and ghosts into positions to influence games. He is a true Arsenal player, made in the same mould of Gunners’ legend Dennis Bergkamp.
In time, he will certainly justify his price tag.
But for now, the ghost must haunt the substitutes' bench rather than the football pitch.
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