Mesut Ozil is not entirely to blame for poor Arsenal form, says Charlie Nicholas
Last Updated: 06/05/17 7:22pm
Charlie Nicholas believes that while Mesut Ozil does go missing in big games, his team-mates are as much to blame for the Germany international's poor recent form.
The 28-year-old started the season in fine form, helping Arsenal keep pace at the top of the table in the opening months of the campaign, but as the Gunners have once again failed to maintain a title tilt, Ozil's own form has suffered, drawing criticism from fans for his seeming lack of effort.
Ahead of Arsenal's huge clash with United live on Nissan Super Sunday, Nicholas said that while fans had every right to be disappointed with Ozil's contribution of late, the rest of the team were as much to blame.
"He does look uninterested," Nicholas said on Soccer Saturday. "Yes, he goes missing in the big games but I do have some sympathy for him. His team-mates don't help him out. When [Alexis] Sanchez plays out on the left, he doesn't move anywhere. He stays left, gets it into his feet.
"He then looks at [Olivier] Giroud, and Giroud can't run away from a centre-back. So what else has he got left?
"He has two wing-backs, but they are too deep. How many times on Sunday [against Totenham] did he look to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and go square, Sanchez square - he has got nothing to hit. He hits it into the feet of Giroud, but there are no runners from midfield apart from Aaron Ramsey.
"When Sanchez was playing as a centre-forward at the start of the season, Ozil was at his best. Now, he can't influence the game from the half-way line."
He is already on a lot of money. In March, they should have said to both of them [Ozil and Alexis Sanchez], 'This is the final offer, are you signing?' If they said no, the club, come the summer, will sell the players; decision made.
Ozil has just under a year left on his current deal. He has previously hinted his future is linked to Wenger's, who brought him to the Emirates from Real Madrid in 2013, but this week said that was not the case.
Nicholas feels that Ozil's contract saga has rumbled on for long enough, and a decision has to be made sooner rather than later.
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"I would just offer him what he is on now," Nicholas said. "He is already on a lot of money. In March, they should have said to both of them [Ozil and Sanchez], 'This is the final offer, are you signing?' If they said no, the club, come the summer, will sell the players; decision made.
"No debate, no confusion, no 'If Arsene stays then maybe we will stay.' Somebody needs to make a decision and tell Ozil if he is staying or being sold."