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Football Focus: What Ozil must do to reclaim Arsenal starting spot?

June 19, 2020 11:33 IST
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Ozil must give his best to reclaim Arsenal starting spot, says Arteta

Mesut Ozil

IMAGE: Mesut Ozil that criticised China’s policy towards its Muslim Uighur minority. Photograph: Chris Radburn/Reuters

Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil must rediscover his best form in training to win back his place in the starting lineup, manager Mikel Arteta has said.

Ozil was a regular in Arteta’s lineup before the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the German was left out of the squad altogether at a game at Manchester City on Wednesday where Arsenal were defeated 3-0.


Arteta had said that the decision was “tactical”.

“I’m the first one who wants Mesut at his best. I’ll put him on the pitch when I think he can give his best,” Arteta told reporters ahead of a league game at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

“A lot has happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the timing of every player. Sometimes they need a bit of time.”

Arteta said that he had no problems with Ozil after a “clear and honest” talk following his omission from the team.

“He was very well with me. There were no issues at all,” Arteta added. “My conversation with Mesut is going to remain with him and me. It was a clear and honest conversation.”

Arsenal are ninth in the league with 40 points from 29 matches.

Southampton bank on playbook for stars of the future

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl spent the COVID-19 lockdown period putting the finishing touches to a masterpiece he hopes will turbo-charge the pipeline from the Premier League club’s vaunted youth academy to the first team.

The flow of talent from the academy is noteworthy. Saints have unearthed and developed stars including Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and their new skipper James Ward-Prowse.

But the supply has slowed in recent years, and Hasenhuettl is banking on his ‘SFC Playbook’ reversing that trend.

The playbook of text, animation and videos sets out the club’s philosophy and ensures that for every position, every player from the youth academy to the first team knows precisely what is demanded.

“This was a big project we started in the beginning of the coronavirus break,” Hasenhuettl told reporters.

“It will help us for the incoming players, the youth players, for the youth coaches. Everybody (in the club) now knows how we want to play, how we want to develop our players.”

Hasenhuettl said it was a priority for Saints to build on their reputation as a leading developer of talent.

“For us there are not a lot of alternatives because we cannot ask for 50 million pounds transfers every year,” he added with a smile.

Southampton restart their season with a trip to Norwich City on Friday, and supporters can expect to see more new young faces in action for the final nine games of the disrupted season.

“We will clearly look at who are the players that can help us immediately and then give them time, trust and a chance to show up,” Hasenhuettl said. “We will especially try to bring in young players, develop them and as a team be successful.

“I cannot say why it was so difficult in the last few years to bring through young players to the Premier League. But all over the world this hunt for the most talented players gets tougher and tougher all the time.

“What you have to do now is work with the players you have here and try to develop them as quickly as possible. If they are not individually the best players then you can develop them in a tactical way that they know immediately what they have to do when they come up to us in the first team.

“That helps massively to make a bigger and quicker impact in the first team. This is the way we want to go in the future.”

Southampton sit 14th in the table on 34 points from 29 matches, 13 points above bottom side Norwich.

Spurs not in same league in transfer market, says Mourinho

Tottenham Hotspur will not be in the same league as other leading English clubs in terms of transfer market spending in the next window, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

“You have now examples already of clubs investing and making important movements in the market and we are still nine matches away from the end of the season,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“We know that we are not going to be in the same league, in the same world, as clubs that are going to do completely different to us.

“But would I expect us not to do anything and to stay exactly with the same squad that we have in this moment? My answer is no,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Chelsea made the first major transfer move ahead of next season after reaching an agreement with RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

British media said Chelsea triggered a 50 million euros ($56 million) release clause to get the Germany international.

The west London club in February wrapped up a deal to bring in Ajax Amsterdam’s Morocco winger Hakim Ziyech for 40 million euros and he will arrive in the summer.

Manchester United in January splashed out 55 million euros on Sporting’s Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

However, Mourinho said Tottenham’s approach to buying players in the window would be “very balanced” as usual.

“I expect us to do some little important things and if we do our little important things and we improve in two, three positions that we need to improve in the squad, I am completely open to the challenge,” he said.

“I am completely supportive to the board, to the owners.”

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