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Mikel Arteta’s squad are split over the potential return of Mesut Ozil, with a number of senior players said to be championing the German’s cause.
The 32-year-old started the first 10 Premier League matches of his former teammate’s managerial tenure and was a hugely influential in the positive results Arteta was able to achieve during his honeymoon period in the job.
Ozil, however, spent the entirety of ‘Project Restart’ on the periphery of the squad and hasn’t made a competitive appearance for Arsenal since March, having been left out of the club’s domestic and European squads.
Arteta remains adamant that the club’s highest earner has been omitted solely for footballing reasons, but that line has been increasingly difficult to sell given a string of calamitous results which have left the club contemplating a relegation dogfight.
Prior to Saturday’s surprise win over Chelsea, Arsenal had scored just 12 goals from 14 top flight games and a lack of creativity from midfield had increased the clamour for Ozil to be reinstated.
According to The Telegraph, a number of senior players have been pushing for Ozil’s reinstatement which has added to the divisions in an already fractious dressing room environment.
Arteta rang the changes last night against high-flying Chelsea and a young, vibrant forward line comprising of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli powered the Gunners to a morale boosting victory.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left on the bench as a precaution, while David Luiz and Willian were left out of the squad entirely due to illness and their young, inexperienced replacements provided the catalyst for a much improved display.
Speaking after the game about the balance of his starting XI, Arteta said: ‘Yes, I think to was a really good mixture today of senior players, experienced players, and young talent that we have.
‘They have been showing us in the last few weeks that they are capable of starting the games and I had no doubt they would respond today and I think they were really, really good.’
Ozil, meanwhile, is set to enter the final six months of his deal and although Arteta has the option to recall him in January, that prospect is said to remain a remote possibility.