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Arsenal round-up: Ozil’s concerning form; Mertesacker admits defensive concerns; rival competition for ‘next Thierry Henry’

Arsenal

Arsenal round-up: Ozil’s concerning form; Mertesacker admits defensive concerns; rival competition for ‘next Thierry Henry’

Mesut Ozil continues to frustrate Arsenal supporters this season as he has failed to live up to the form he showed during the first half of last season. He didn’t play well against Hull City, despite being given a pep talk from his manager before the game and it is becoming a possibility that the German could be dropped in the immediate future. Ozil looks to be lacking confidence on the pitch and letting matches drift him by. Arsene Wenger has noticed the problem.

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“I felt he was not completely confident technically,”

“I completely agree with you. That’s a problem because you think he can deliver something special. It’s true that technically he did things [against Hull] that he is not used to doing. I don’t know. It can happen. I can’t think of a specific reason.”

It will be interesting to see whether Wenger can help the midfielder find his best form once more, but he may need to drop Ozil first. The problem there is that there are few other options to play behind the striker, with Alex Iwobi being the main contender. He remains inexperienced in the role and certainly wouldn’t be the right call to play against Bayern Munich. The Champions League game is huge for Ozil, as the very best players step up in the big matches and that is what he will need to do.

Per Mertesacker may not be on the pitch for Arsenal at the moment, but he remains a big character around the club. He has been discussing the match against Bayern Munich and has highlighted the defence as an area of concern. Arsenal have struggled at the back, especially in the big matches, this year and it is something that they will need to correct if they are to progress in the Champions League.

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“I think defensive discipline is something we have to put back in our minds because it’s something we need desperately,” Mertesacker said.

The German is correct as Arsenal can look poor at the back, especially when sides look to attack them. Their defensive set-up can be unclear at times and that is one of the problems with Wenger’s management. Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham are pressing teams, while Manchester United use a block that Jose Mourinho has used throughout his career. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s set-up isn’t clear and that is why they can be open at times. Wenger has been a great manager, but there have always been concerns about his defensive coaching and that is something that a new manager could correct quickly.

In some concerning news, Tottenham have joined Arsenal in the race for Monaco teenage star Kylian Mbappe, according to the Mirror. The 18-year-old has been in great form this season and has taken the first team opportunities that have been given to him. On Saturday, he netted a hat-trick against Metz and that will only have attracted greater interest in him. He has been compared to Thierry Henry by Arsene Wenger and it will be a blow if their North London rivals beat them to his signature.

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This will be a difficult deal to do for Arsenal and it may not be at the top of their priorities this summer, depending on the futures of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. They may need to be targeting more experienced players to ensure they don’t fall off the pace in the Premier League. Although Mbappe is one of the most exciting talents in Europe, it will take a considerable transfer fee to sign him. Anthony Martial was sold by Monaco for an initial £36 million that could rise to £57.8 million. It could take a similar amount to land Mbappe.

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