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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Arsenal: 3 players Mikel Arteta laid the gauntlet down to

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Arsenal, Mikel Arteta

Arsenal, Mikel Arteta (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta selected an interesting and unexpected team for Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Here are three players he laid the gauntlet down to.

Upon the return of the Premier League, Mikel Arteta dropped a huge surprise with his Arsenal team selection. Turning to a raft of young players in place of veterans who were expected to start, the starting XI featured both trust in talent coming through and challenges laid down to those left out. As the focus now turns to how the team will respond to their dismantling by Manchester City, there is a particular gauntlet for those who Arteta left out.

With that in mind, here are three players who Arteta now wants a response from.

Arsenal, Mesut Ozil

Arsenal, Mesut Ozil (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

3. Mesut Ozil

This might finally be the end of Mesut Ozil’s time at Arsenal. Ever since the German signed his bumper new £350,000-per-week deal, questions regarding his true value and subsequent role in the team’s future have been levelled at him. As soon as he put pen to paper, his commitment declined, his performances seeped away, and three different managers turned away from him.

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Arteta is the latest of them. Not only was Ozil was dropped from the starting XI, which was suggested by many prior to kick-off; Ozil was not even named in the matchday squad. With a nine-man bench, it is inconceivable that Arteta does not believe that the German is not in the best 20 players in the squad. And yet, here we are.

Afterwards, Arteta said Ozil was left out due to ‘tactical reasons’. The real reason has not yet been reported, though this would not be the first time that Ozil’s attitude has got in the way of his relationship with his manager. Arteta felt Arsenal were better off without Ozil. It is now down to Ozil to change that.

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