A feud between a manager and a player is always a bitter pill to swallow for the fans. Ego issues, the constant chatter in the media and the unending speculation are a source of agony for the fans. Things take a turn for the worse when the results are not going underway. It happened with the Paul Pogba-Jose Mourinho battle. A similar situation is brewing at Arsenal with Gunners’ boss Unai Emery and Mesut Ozil locking horns.
This Emery-Ozil is not helping Arsenal on the results front. With the Gunners facing Chelsea tonight, this dressing room fiasco might reach its tipping point.
Star vs Manager
In terms of pure talent, there’s no better player at Arsenal than Mesut Ozil. The mercurial German is capable of both – magic and laziness. It is the latter quality that is preventing Emery from giving Ozil a run in the squad.
The Spanish manager employs a vastly different style with the Gunners than his predecessor. Arsenal have pressed more this season. Something that was missing during Arsene Wenger’s later tenure.
The emphasis on energetic performances do not fit with Ozil’s style of play. The German himself has not exactly tried to adapt to Emery’s style as well.
Emery’s game-management, however, is not without flaws. Take last weekend’s 0-1 loss to West Ham under consideration. One of Emery’s biggest mistakes was to drop Ozil whose vision was needed to break down a stubborn Hammers’ defense.
It is fair to say that Emery will need Ozil’s talents to outfox the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger. Chelsea have only conceded two goals in their last five games across all competitions. The Gunners surely need a creative genius to dissect Maurizio Sarri’s impressive defense.
Chelsea’s impressive record against the Gunners in the league
The visitors’ have only lost to Arsenal once in the pair’s last 14 Premier League games. The lone defeat was a 3-0 drubbing at the Emirates Stadium in 2016.
In the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge this season, Chelsea overcame the Gunners, 3-2. The whirlwind fixture saw Chelsea concede a two-goal lead before finding the winner through Marcos Alonso.
Looking at recent form, Chelsea have the advantage over Arsenal. The Blues have won three, drawn one and lost one in their last five Premier League games. The Gunners, in the same duration, have won two, lost two and drawn one.
Emery will be ecstatic due to the return of Hector Bellerin. Stephan Lichtsteiner slotted in at right-back in the Spaniard’s absence and the veteran’s performances were sub-standard. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is still out for this game.
For Sarri, the selection headache will be in midfield with Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley vying for a spot alongside N’Golo Kante and Jorginho. Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be suiting up due to injuries.