Mikel Arteta sent out his 2nd XI last evening to face an equally diminished Leicester team in a 1st round Carabao Cup match and Mesut Ozil didn’t even make the squad. It was a dull, boring encounter reflecting the quality of players on display. But, having won by 2 goals to nil, according to the 1st team manager:
I am really happy with the performance. First of all with the attitude and the way we approached the game mentally. The senior players took the lead straight away and I could see that they came here to win the game, and afterwards with the young players and the way they are developing and the way they played again tonight.
Apparently some in the media in the post-match presser refused to accept this “happy” talk and insisted on asking questions as to why one of the most creative midfielders in the world, Mesut Ozil, was absent from the Arsenal line-up. Once again, for the umpteenth time since the COVID-19 resumption last June, Mikel Arteta refused to answer directly any questions concerning his former team-mate whom he once spoke of in glowing terms.
on Mesut Ozil not being in the squad…
I am really happy with the performance of the players here, how difficult they are making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.
on what has changed with Ozil…
The team is evolving and you can see the level they are achieving, so this is where we are at at the moment. We want to evolve more, play better and compete better, so we need to keep maintaining that trend.
on whether he believes other players are better suited…
Well, we are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game and as you can see, we keep changing, so this is what we are trying to do.
Reading and listening to the above b.s., I cannot but express my growing disappointment in Mikel Arteta. His continued evasiveness and shiftiness when it comes to Ozil is self evident and shows a lack of respect for the public in general and Arsenal fans in particular. In fact his responses to Ozil questions are now coming close to the bizarre nonsense, cliches and platitudes that marked the waning days of Unai Emery. Who does Arteta think he is fooling? Does he think all Arsenal fans cannot see through this charade?
It was Arteta who said of Ozil prior to the Brighton game last June (which we lost by-the-way):
There’s a lot that’s happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the time for every player. Sometimes they need a little bit of time. It’s been difficult preparation the last two months to get players ready and again, I’m the first one who wants Mesut at the best. I’m going to put him on the pitch when I think he can give his best.
Yet three months later, with Ozil training, as he must, according to his contract, we are to believe he is not ready to give his best in a Carabao Cup match. Give me a break. Either Mesut Ozil is unfit or Arteta is prevaricating about playing him.
As I highlighted in my recent blog titled Freezing Out Ozil, Arteta Is Playing With Fire, sooner or later this charade will have an unhappy end. A manager who loses the trust and confidence of fans loses goodwill which is necessary when the good times end. Six wins in six cup games can easily morph into that 22-game unbeaten run which ended so ignominiously for Unai Emery.
Worse of all is to lose the trust of your star player.