Mesut Ozil sent Arsenal warning as Unai Emery issues player demands ahead of Chelsea tie

No wonder new manager Unai Emery is demanding more.

Despite starting with him slightly deeper than is customary in the opening game against Manchester City on Sunday which they lost 2-0, it was still the usual largely anonymous display whenever did not have the ball.

Pretty much until the 84th minute, that was – when Ederson’s clumsy pass out allowed Ozil to catch Fernandinho in possession, only for the ball to run back harmlessly to the Brazilian goalkeeper.

Statistically, Ozil finished with one blocked pass, one tackle and a single aerial duel won by the retired Germany international.

No interceptions, no fouls committed, no blocked shots, no blocked crosses, no clearances.

“There are defensive moments and attacking moments,” said Emery, ahead of facing Chelsea on Saturday. “Every player each needs this commitment. For me, we need to start together, whether we are attacking or defending – I want that from every player.

“With regards to positioning, Ozil has been playing all his career like a 10 player, or like a right winger going inside to receive the ball.

“It’s clear he needs the ball more to give more options in the attacking moments. He needs to do that in each match, be demanding for us.

“But defensive moments are for each and every player – it does not change for because of his positioning.”

Ozil has split opinion among Arsenal fans ever since his deadline-day arrival from Real Madrid five years ago.

Still only 29, he signed a three-year contract extension in January as one of Wenger’s legacy to the club as even club stalwarts continue to be openly critical.

Alan Smith, for example, who won two titles under George Graham in eight successful seasons at the club, believes Ozil could be a “major problem” for Emery.

“After being awarded a ludicrously lucrative contract last season, the languid German almost demands inclusion,” he said. “That’s fine when he is in the mood, pulling the strings with that wonderful eye for an opening.

“But it won’t sit so comfortably if his passing gets sloppy, as it did against City, and he drifts to the edges of a contest.

“The new manager has a liking for getting his attackers to aggressively close down. Can Ozil – and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, for instance – do that in the way Carlos Bacca and Kevin Gameiro did so successfully for Emery at Sevilla?”

In fairness to Mkhitaryan, his five successful tackles against City put him top of the Arsenal pile and is a tally that Ozil has never matched in five seasons at the Emirates.

And if Emery does take the bold decision to remove Ozil from his plans, it could pave the way for an old-school strike partnership of the style Smith used to enjoy early in his career alongside Gary Lineker at Leicester.

Certainly Arsenal looked brighter when Alexandre Lacazette joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack on Sunday, and although Stamford Bridge against Chelsea might not be the best place to experiment, it could be a pairing we see again soon as Emery gets to grips with his resources.

“The possibility to play Aubameyang and Lacazette is okay because we are trying like that in pre-season and also last year they played together also,” he said.

“Each match if different, each match is a different possibility. Against Manchester City, the last 25, 30 minutes they played together. For me it is to find the good balance for all that we want in attacking moments and defensive moments.

“I want to look at every player together, how to get Aubameyang and Lacazette scoring more goals, whether as one or together.

“I want to give them the chances in each match.”