While some Arsenal fans urged Mikel Arteta to give Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil a chance when Arsenal faced Leicester in the Carabao Cup third round, the boss was right to keep them frozen out.
World Cup winner Ozil has not played for Arsenal since the covid-19 lock-down in March, while Guendouzi hasn’t featured since his disciplinary issues during the defeat to Brighton in June.
Is there a way back for Guendouzi and Ozil?
Arteta has already shown in his brief time at Arsenal that he is willing to give anyone a second chance.
Dani Ceballos and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have both enjoyed successful returns to the first team after it looked as though their time at the Emirates was over.
Even Shkodran Mustafi – whose career with the Gunners looked dead and buried – made a return to the side. The German started 13 league games after the Spaniard took over having started none under Unai Emery.
These were all on the proviso that they subscribed to Arteta’s non negotiables.
The non negotiables
Speaking to Trilium Rose Arteta’s assistant Steve Round elaborated on what this term actually meant.
“Discipline, self-discipline and making sure that our behaviour, positive behaviours are continually reinforced” he said. “Negative behaviours are pulled up, there are certain things we will not accept.”
“You’re consistently giving them the information that helps them become better players or helps them become a far better team and then you’re consistently enforcing the quality of behaviour that you want to see.
“There is no magical formula to generating a resonant and elite culture. It’s just every day getting all the little things right.”
After misdemeanours on a club training trip to Dubai, and attempting to throttle Neal Maupay on the pitch, it’s fair to say Guendouzi has not shown that behaviour.
Ozil meanwhile has not done anything as overt as his teammate. However, there is rarely smoke without fire, and to be dropped by three different managers in the space of just one season suggests that the problem lies with the German.
Stats don’t lie
There is also statistical evidence to suggest that neither Ozil nor Guendouzi should be given another chance. The fact of the matter is that Arsenal tend to better without them.
Last season the Gunners managed just 1.33 points per game with Ozil in the side compared to 1.6 without him.
While Guendouzi’s effect on team may be more subtle, that stats for him tell a similar story. It was 1.2 points per game with him in 2019/20 and 2.8 without.
Neither really fit into the Pep Guardiola-esque style of play Arteta is trying to implement at Arsenal.
When asked what he admired most about his former mentor as a coach Mikel Arteta was quick to point out the Manchester City manager’s ruthlessness.
It is now time for him to show some at Arsenal. Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi should not be allowed back into the Arsenal first team.
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