Date published: Tuesday 3rd November 2020 7:38
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made a mistake by not including Mesut Ozil in his squads for the first half of this season, according to former Gunners forward Paul Merson.
The former Germany international has been left out of the Premier League and Europa League squads that Arteta submitted last month.
That means the 32-year-old cannot play in those competitions until squads are updated in February next year, following the January transfer window.
But Merson believes Ozil could have thrived in the same Gunners team as the outstanding Partey.
The Ghana international ran the show as Arsenal grabbed a rare win at Old Trafford on Sunday.
And Merson thinks Partey provides enough defensive stability to be able to have a work shy No 10 such as Ozil in the starting XI.
“I think there’s a stage for Ozil now that Partey’s in the team,” Merson told Sky Sports, as cited in the Express.
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“I watched Chelsea play against Burnley. They played N’Golo Kante in front of the back four and let everyone else get on with it.
“They ripped Burnley to shreds, I haven’t seen too many teams make Burnley look bang average.
“Because Kante was playing in that holding role, it gave Kai Havertz and Mason Mount the freedom to do what they want, they didn’t have to spend most of their time on the edge of their own box tracking back.
“With Partey in there now, who’s so dominant in there and doesn’t lose the ball, I think there’s a place for Ozil now.
“Then if they do drop someone in to pick up Ozil, you’ve got someone like Partey who’s very comfortable on the ball and can hurt you.
“Then that frees a midfield player up. I think there’s a trick being missed here, but that’s just me.”
Arteta explains reasons for Ozil axe
Speaking last week, Arteta explained his decision to axe Ozil from his plans.
“What I can tell you is that I tried my best, I tried to give him as many opportunities as I could,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“And that from my own side, I’ve been patient, given him opportunities and been fair.
“He’s a player that belongs to a football club, he’s been a really important player in the last few seasons. I have to respect that, I’m here to make decisions, the best decisions for the team and for the club.
“This is what I try to do and then I have to explain them because people need the reasons and the right answers.
“I just give mine, whether they believe me or agree with me or not, there’s nothing I can do.
“But I have to put my decisions, with my heart and with my brain to make the right decisions that I believe are good.”