Emery wants Ozil to fight for future
UNAI Emery wants Mesut Ozil to fight to revive his flagging Arsenal career. The German’s future at the Emirates is under a cloud after he was omitted from the past two matches – although Arsenal are adamant Ozil was injured for Sunday’s epic 4-2 win over Tottenham.
Despite his obvious doubts over Ozil, it is understood Emery believes the ex-Real Madrid star can play a role for the club. But the Gunners manager wants to see a change in attitude from Ozil if he is to be convinced the forward has the appetite to claw his way back into the team. Emery insisted that Ozil is training alone to overcome the back problem that ruled him out of the north London derby.
The extent of the injury is unclear. Indeed, there is a feeling among certain figures at the club’s London Colney HQ that Ozil could have made himself available for the Tottenham game. Emery is understood to have held a frank discussion with Ozil towards the end of last month when he outlined what he expects from his No 10 – particularly in terms of intensity and work ethic. It is not that Ozil is a prima donna. He is a popular member of the squad, described as a quiet man who is no trouble. “He doesn’t ever moan, he just gets on with things,” said a source.
Ozil’s position as Arsene Wenger’s golden boy made him a powerful presence in the dressing room. But in the space of four months, Emery has changed that. Sources insist the Spaniard is keen to avoid the scenario he had at Paris Saint-Germain where Neymar called the shots. The Gunners know finding a buyer for a 30-year-old who is on £350 000-a-week will be easier said than done.
JACK WILSHERE has been hailed as a £100million player by Manuel Pellegrini as he stands by for a first West Ham start in three months.
The former Arsenal midfielder, who arrived in the summer with a lengthy history of injury trouble, played the final five minutes of Saturday’s 3-0 win at Newcastle — his first action since September 1.
Wilshere has recovered from ankle surgery and with Pellegrini keen to rotate his squad at the start of a busy December schedule, the 26-year-old could start in tonight’s home game against Cardiff City.
Declan Rice, Robert Snodgrass, Pedro Obiang and captain Mark Noble have all performed well in midfield in Wilshere’s absence, and youngster Grady Diangana has also established himself as part of the first team.
But Pellegrini made it clear that he viewed Wilshere as a player who could come straight back into the side.
‘Players of the quality of Wilshere at this moment can cost £100m, £90m, £70m,’ he said. ‘Good creative midfielders are very expensive. We took the risk and it has not been a good few months for him but we have the second part of the season and I hope he will play most of the games.
‘In football, the most important thing is the quality. That you cannot buy — you either have it or you don’t.
‘After that, there are a lot of different things that you must add, like not having so many injuries. But it is never hard for good players to get into the team.’
Snodgrass has established himself as a regular pick despite arriving for pre-season training needing to lose weight.
‘His reaction was important — he didn’t try to defend himself,’ said Pellegrini.
‘He said, “Yes, I know, I must do it” and worked from that day 100 per cent.’
Javier Hernandez scored twice at Newcastle just days after giving an interview to Spanish newspaper Marca saying he might look for a January exit. Pellegrini made it clear that would not be happening, saying: ‘He is a very important player for us.’
THE FIRE shown by Arsenal this past weekend against Spurs to dominate the derby was praised by Sky pundit Graeme Souness, who said: ‘I’ve not seen this from Arsenal players for a long time. That’s what you want to see from your players. You want to see them caring. There’s been confrontation all over the pitch. It’s a derby day. This is how it used to be and this is how it should be.
JOSE MOURINHO reacted in crazy fashion after Marouane Fellaini’s dramatic injury-time goal against Young Boys sent Manchester United through to the last 16 of the Champions League last week.
Mourinho kicked wildly at a tray of water bottles before picking it up and smashing it to the ground.
He had earlier come under fire for his negative reaction when Marcus Rashford had missed a chance. Gary Lineker said on BT Sport:
“If I saw that reaction from my manager after missing a chance, I’d be absolutely livid.” – Daily Mail