Great Britain

Mesut Ozil should return to Arsenal line-up to bring much-needed creativity, says Paul Merson

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson thinks out-of-favour Mesut Ozil should be reincorporated into the first-team set-up to help rediscover a sense of attacking threat in the team.

Mikel Arteta opted against including the German playmaker in his registered squads for the Premier League and Europa League, meaning he cannot feature in either competition until after January at the earliest.

By that time it will be almost a year since he last played for the Gunners and his contract runs out in the summer.

But Merson says that with Thomas Partey at the heart of midfield, Arsenal have enough protection for the defence to bring the creativity back that Ozil can provide and which the team has been lacking, after scoring just two goals in the last six league games.

“For me, Mesut Ozil comes back in the team if Thomas Partey is fit. Partey gets around the pitch, dominates the midfield and dictates the game. Him playing opens up a chance for Ozil,” Merson said in his Sky Sports column.

"At the moment, Arsenal have nobody in there to provide the forwards. You can make runs all day long, but if you're a centre-forward, your runs are only as good as the players playing behind you.

"If Partey doesn't play, Ozil can't play. Without Partey, Arsenal are not going to dictate the midfield, and then can't afford to play with 10 men. But if Arsenal have the midfield, and Ozil is playing behind Aubameyang, with two flying wingers. You ask the back four to stay still, including the full-backs.

“Get the ball to Ozil, and before you know it, if you make runs, he'll find you.”

Merson went on to criticise Willian’s impact since signing from Chelsea on a free transfer, pushed the claims of Nicolas Pepe to take over on the right side in a 4-2-3-1 with Ozil in the No. 10 role and said that instead of Arteta making regular rotations, the Gunners should play the same team “for five games; if it doesn't work, it doesn't work.”

Football news:

Simeone is in the top 5 in terms of wins in La Liga matches. Diego has the best percentage among the leaders - 62%
Rudy Garcia: It would be great if Benzema would wear the Lyon shirt again
Ex-referee Andujar Oliver believes that Barcelona should have scored a penalty in the match with Rayo: Trinkau was shot down
35-year-old Fernando Llorente has moved to Udinese from Napoli
Regilon is out for three weeks, and Ben Davies may also miss the match against Liverpool. These are two Tottenham left-backs
Emery buys the club where his father played, and his grandfather took two Spanish Cups. Real Union from the third league defeated Madrid: both in the 1920s and in the 2000s
Modric and Real Madrid have agreed on a contract extension