Paul Merson picks Arsenal midfield and attacking line-up that could accommodate outcast Mesut Ozil

Ozil hasn't played for the club since March
Ozil hasn’t played for the club since March (Picture: Getty Images)

Paul Merson has called for Mikel Arteta to reintroduce Mesut Ozil and named the Arsenal line-up that he believes the midfielder could thrive in.

The German hasn’t played for the Gunners since March and was left out of their Premier League and Europa League squads this season.

Ozil has stated that he will continue to fight for his place at the club, but can only be re-registered after the January transfer window.

Partey has been out since the Aston Villa defeat
Partey has been out since the Aston Villa defeat (Picture: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Arteta is facing the toughest period of his managerial career so far with his side in 14th place in the table after losing three of their last five league games.

Arsenal are lacking a creative spark in their midfield and have scored a meagre 10 Premier League goals this campaign.

The north Londoners are also without summer signing Thomas Partey through injury, with Arteta expecting the midfielder to miss their ‘next few games’.

But Merson suggests that alongside a fit and firing Partey, outcast Ozil could slot back in.

‘Mesut Ozil comes back in the team if Thomas Partey is fit,’ the Arsenal legend told Sky Sports. ‘Partey gets around the pitch, dominates the midfield and dictates the game. Him playing opens up a chance for Ozil.

‘At the moment, Arsenal have nobody in there to provide the forwards. You can make runs all day long, but if you’re a centre-forward, your runs are only as good as the players playing behind you.

‘When these Arsenal players are getting the ball in midfield, with time, is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang making the run? Is he confident they are going to see his run and are capable of getting that ball through the eye of a needle? I’d say no, so they need creativity.

‘Teams are sitting back against Arsenal, and they don’t have the creativity in midfield to break them down.’

Merson admitted that he would field Partey and Granit Xhaka behind Ozil, with Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka forming an attacking front three ahead of the playmaker.

‘If Partey doesn’t play, Ozil can’t play,’ Merson added. ‘Without Partey, Arsenal are not going to dictate the midfield, and then can’t afford to play with 10 men. But if Arsenal have the midfield, and Ozil is playing behind Aubameyang, with two flying wingers. You ask the back four to stay still, including the full-backs.

‘You’d play Granit Xhaka next to Partey, then Ozil in front, then have Aubameyang central, Bukayo Saka on the left, and try and get a tune out of Nicolas Pepe. Get the ball to Ozil, and before you know it, if you make runs, he’ll find you.

‘Is Arteta to blame for Ozil’s exclusion? I don’t know if it’s Arteta or the club. I’m not sure. Arteta has been in the game long enough to know when a player is or isn’t a good player.’

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