Football

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.

Jamie Carragher's latest thoughts on Mesut Ozil ahead of Arsenal v Liverpool

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Unai Emery and Arsenal face their toughest test of the season against Liverpool tomorrow afternoon.

The Gunners have won 11 of their last 12 games, but are yet to claim a major scalp having lost to Manchester City and Chelsea earlier in the season.

Now is the time for this Arsenal side to prove they can mix it with the best in the Premier League.

In the build-up to the game, the discussion has focused on how Liverpool will expose the Gunners' leaky defence.

Little focus has been on Arsenal's own forward line which has been pretty impressive in recent weeks.

Mesut Ozil has been at the centre of it, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring five goals in his last three Premier League games.

The German is a divisive topic and Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has made a rather controversial point about him in his latest Telegraph column.

He believes Ozil is an 'anomaly' and a number 10 like him can't succeed in a top team. Certainly Carragher's boldest point on Ozil yet - he's criticised him a lot in the past.

"Ozil is a traditional ‘number 10’ in an era where elite clubs want multi-functional strikers and midfielders," Carragher says.

Ozil with Emery

"Those who would once have occupied the position of an Eric Cantona or Dennis Bergkamp – players such as David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne - have evolved into more rounded midfielders whose starting position is deeper.

"They don’t occupy a small space behind the front man, linking midfield and attack, but have a heat map taking them all over the pitch. They press high and they track back.

"The reason Ozil has as many detractors as supporters is he is a bit of an anomaly – an elegant, skilful footballer who at his best evokes memories of the great number 10s from the past, but sometimes looks unsuited to the extra demands of a changing game at the very top."

Does Carragher have a point?

Carragher at Croatia vs England

The best teams in world football such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, City and Liverpool all play without a 'number 10'.

Has the game outgrown a player in Ozil's position, much like it did with Arsene Wenger's management style?

It's certainly food for thought and Ozil's performance against Liverpool tomorrow will go some way to either proving or disproving Carragher's point.

Topics:
Football
Unai Emery
Mesut Özil
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Premier League
Arsenal
Liverpool

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