Arsenal’s slump under Mikel Arteta proves Mesut Ozil’s comments were spot on

The decision to omit Mesut Ozil from his Premier League and Europa League squads feels the most pivotal in Mikel Arteta's first year as Arsenal boss.

After such a brilliant start to life in the Emirates dugout, the Spaniard is under severe pressure with the Gunners marooned in the bottom half of the Premier League table.

Their most recent defeat – their eighth in 14 games this season – against Everton at Goodison Park, leaves Arteta's side just four points ahead of the relegation zone, with Burnley having played two games less.

And it is crystal clear where the struggles have stemmed from.

With more than a third of the season gone, Arsenal have scored just 12 times, with the only teams with a poorer record occupying the three spots in the relegation zone.

However, it isn't just goals scored that is the concern, with all of the attacking metrics right at the bottom of the pile.

When Ozil was left out of Arteta's squads, it was a decision that divided opinion, but one that many felt showed the manager's position of strength at the club.

The World Cup winner has often been painted as the scapegoat from supporters and neutrals alike, despite the stats painting a very different picture.

Since the start of last season, Ozil's chance creation stats stand up to any of the replacements currently in Arteta's XI.

The perception that he was to blame for all of Arsenal's struggles was one that always stuck in the craw of the ex-Real Madrid star.

Back in 2019, Ozil, speaking to the Athletic, hit back at the criticism surrounding his performances, claiming his negatives were always blown out of proportion.

“It always happens that an ex-player stands there on TV and criticises me,” he said. “Others just continue the theme and it gets in everyone’s heads.

“If we don’t do well in a ‘big’ game, it’s always my fault. If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the ‘big’ games when I wasn’t involved?

“There’s no real difference. I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make the difference — I do, too — but it’s not that straightforward.

“I’m not the only player in the team and, don’t forget, some of our opponents are simply better than us.”

They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating and since he has no longer been in the side, the struggles have continued – or in most aspects, got even worse.

Perhaps Ozil needed to be taken out of the equation to highlight his importance to the wider public. Whether Arteta has recognised that, will be clear when he has the opportunity to name his squad for the second half of the season.

But with Arsenal's stuttering attack clear to see, Ozil's assessment is looking more correct with every passing week.

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