When Mesut Ozil asked Arsene Wenger why he wasn’t playing in the number ten role, the Arsenal boss reportedly gave a very clear message to the German; you need to get fitter.
A report from Goal suggests that Wenger had concerns over Ozil’s ability to play in behind the main striker, selecting him to play in a wider positions as he increased his match fitness and got sharper.
“Before he suffered a knee injury in the Chelsea defeat, Ozil had knocked on Wenger's door to question why he was being played only infrequently in his favourite No.10 role. Wenger told the German he needed to first build up his fitness through regular run-outs on the flank,” reports Goal.
Ozil’s ability as one of the best passing and creative players in the current Arsenal squad has created confusion as to why he was being used by the boss in a wider position.
Unfortunately for the German, Arsenal are blessed in terms of players who can come in and play the creative role in midfield, which allowed Wenger the luxury of confining Ozil to a different position while he built up his fitness.
It’s worth remembering that Arsenal’s German World Cup contingent returned to the club later than everyone else; at the start of the week before the new Premier League season.
Therefore, the concerns from Wenger that Ozil may not have been fit enough in recent games are valid because he didn’t have the same pre-season as the rest of his teammates.
His injury came at a bad time, potentially when he was getting back up to speed and when Wenger was considering switching him back to the number ten role.
He’ll now be out of action until a busy winter period and when he comes back into the side, he’ll have to deal with the same issues in terms of building his fitness back up, which he’s been dealing with over the start of this season.
Ozil can still make the difference for the Gunners on multiple fronts as they hunt silverware, but he appears confined to enduring a frustrating spell in a different position in order to get into that number ten slot where he’s at his best.