Arsenal legend Paul Merson believes manager Mikel Arteta may be missing a trick by not making use of Mesut Ozil now that he has Thomas Partey in his midfield.
Partey has impressed since joining Arsenal from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day, adding some much-needed physical presence and defensive discipline to that area of the pitch for the Gunners.
It’s been a long time since Arsenal had such a top player in the middle of the park, and Merson feels that his presence could pave the way for Ozil to return.
The German playmaker has been totally frozen out by Arteta this season as he’s failed to make the Spaniard’s squads for the Premier League or Europa League.
Still, on his day Ozil was a world class creative player for Arsenal, and it seems harsh that he isn’t even being considered as a squad player at the moment, especially when Arsenal lack an alternative in that number ten role.
Merson’s comments make a lot of sense, with the pundit telling Sky Sports that Partey could allow Ozil to flourish in the team more now.
“I think there was a stage for Ozil now Partey’s in the team,” he said. “I watched Chelsea play against Burnley, they played a back four, they played N’Golo Kante in front of the back four, and let everyone else get on with it. They ripped Burnley to shreds, I haven’t seen too many teams make Burnley look bang average.
“Because Kante was playing in that holding role, it gave Kai Havertz and Mason Mount the freedom to do what they want, they didn’t have to spend most of their time on the edge of their own box tracking back.
“With Partey in there now who’s so dominant in there and doesn’t lose the ball, I think there was a place for Ozil now. I think there was.
“Then if they do drop someone in to pick up Ozil, you’ve got someone like Partey who’s very comfortable on the ball and can hurt you. Then that frees a midfield player up. I think there’s a trick being missed here, but that’s just me.