Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil could be competing for a place in Unai Emery’s starting XI ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final with Napoli.
Paul Merson believes Mesut Ozil is a must in Arsenal’s starting XI as they take on Napoli for a place in the Europa League semi-finals tonight, as reported by the Daily Star.
The mercurial German has been in and out of Unai Emery’s team this season but he has shown some semblance of that world-class ability of late, helping the Gunners outclass a disappointing Napoli side in last week’s 2-0 first-leg win at the Emirates.
Ozil, who played 67 minutes against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, could also be key to their chances of scoring an away goal at the San Paolo which would more than likely kill the tie as a contest.
Merson has encouraged Emery to hand Ozil a key role in Naples, while adding that the equally inconsistent Henrikh Mkhitaryan should be the man left on the bench.
“I would play Ozil. They will need to score an away goal. You can’t play him and Henrikh Mkhitaryan together in a game like this,” Merson said.
“But play Ozil and let him try to unpick that Napoli defence and create something. For all his faults he is still a match-winner.”
Like the former Real Madrid star, Mkhitaryan has endured a mixed season under Emery.
The 2016 Bundesliga Player of the Year was heavily criticised for his performance during Monday’s nervy 1-0 win at Watford, with Gunners legend Ian Wright claiming he’s been an ‘absolute nightmare’ since arriving from Manchester United 14 months ago, while speaking to Sky Sports (15 April, 10:00pm).