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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Arteta GLAD Ozil is unhappy with him as ace tries to fight back in from the cold

MIKEL ARTETA admits Mesut Ozil has got the hump with him — and he could not be happier. Ozil has not managed a single minute of action in the four games since Arsenal emerged from lockdown a fortnight ago. Mesut Ozil has not played since the restart …
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MIKEL ARTETA admits Mesut Ozil has got the hump with him — and he could not be happier.

Ozil has not managed a single minute of action in the four games since Arsenal emerged from  lockdown a fortnight ago.

Mesut Ozil has not played since the restart after failing to impress Mikel Arteta

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Mesut Ozil has not played since the restart after failing to impress Mikel ArtetaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

And the German is unlikely to return to the starting line-up for tonight’s Emirates visit of Norwich.

Yet Arteta remains unconvinced Ozil is hurting enough to force his way back into the team.

The Spanish boss  said: “I believe Mesut is not very happy because he’s not playing but I’m expecting anyone who is not involved to feel hurt and disappointed.

“My job is to get the maximum out of every player and if they are willing then everyone is welcome.

“I always hope all the players want to give their best because I want to have the ability to be able to pick them to help the squad as much as possible.


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“It’s not just one factor and you need help from your team-mates to give you confidence.

“But I never doubt the players want to do their very best for the club.

“Just don’t forget that Mesut picked up an injury the other day and we have to wait and see how that evolves.”


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Ozil, 31, did not make the squad for Arsenal’s return to action at Manchester City and was an unused sub at Brighton and Southampton before missing Sunday’s FA Cup win at Sheffield United with a slight back niggle.

Yet he started every Premier League game under Arteta before the coronavirus lockdown and it is clear that the manager is becoming increasingly frustrated with Ozil’s recent contribution.

Former Gunners midfielder Arteta added: “I know Mesut really well because I played with him here and I know he has unique qualities.

“He is a very special player for the position he plays and he has specific qualities that he can bring to the team.

“When he first joined Arsenal he obviously needed some time to adapt to the Premier League but he started to perform pretty quickly.

“He has been an established player in this country for a long time, which is not easy to do and I don’t think much has changed in that front.”

Ozil still has a year of his  contract to run and it is no secret Arsenal would love to get his £350,000-a-week salary off the books.

But they have not been able to find a buyer for their highest-paid player and Arteta insists Ozil’s hefty wage has no bearing on his team selection. He said: “There is an agreement that the player and club were happy to sign and I never question that.

“I think players are paid whatever they deserve and it’s something I should never have to judge on.”

Tonight will be Arsenal’s first game at the Emirates since March 7 and Arteta admitted: “Not having the fans with us is a tremendous disadvantage.

“Games behind closed doors are more equal, with different pressure and emotions.

“But we’re just happy to be back playing because a few months ago I couldn’t see this happening, so I can’t be too critical about the situation.”

Arsenal are gearing up to face rock-bottom Norwich in need of three points

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Arsenal are gearing up to face rock-bottom Norwich in need of three pointsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The Gunners are trying to force their way into the European spots and cannot afford to slip up

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The Gunners are trying to force their way into the European spots and cannot afford to slip upCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Arteta also confirmed William Saliba will stay on loan at Saint-Etienne until the end of the month, even though the French league was cancelled in April.

The 19-year-old centre-half was signed by Arsenal for £27million last July but was allowed to stay in his homeland this season.

And the Londoners have agreed to the Ligue 1 side’s request for the teen to play in the French Cup final against Paris Saint-Germain on July 24.

Arteta said: “He has earned the right to play in that final and we have given him the opportunity.

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“We’ve been following his progress very closely and I know how the expectations are on him for next year.

“But we have to bear in mind the age he’s at and make sure we  create the right environment for him to keep growing as a player.”

ARSENAL (likely): Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka, Pepe, Lacazette,  Aubameyang.

FA Cup semi-final draw: Man United face Chelsea while Arsenal take on Man City or Newcastle
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