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AUF WIEDERSEHEN?

Are Arsenal better off without Mesut Ozil?

The Gunners' form has improved drastically in the German midfielder's absence

It seems bizarre to suggest a team are better off without arguably their best player.

But that’s the current state of affairs at Arsenal.


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Arsenal were impressive as they defeated Brighton 20 - is Arsene Wenger finally getting it right?

Getty - Contributor
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Arsenal beat Brighton 2-0 on Sunday

The Gunners players were rightly torn to shreds after their truly abject collective display in the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the end of August, which came just a week after an equally dispiriting 1-0 loss at Stoke.

Mesut Ozil was chief perpetrator on both occasions that day, but since then his ongoing knee injury has proved a blessing in disguise.

Mesut Ozil is out of contract at the end of the sason at Arsenal

Rex Features
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Ozil is out of contract at the end of the sason at Arsenal

The German is undoubtedly Arsenal’s most creative player and his assist record throughout his career speaks for itself.

But do the liabilities and drawbacks now outweigh Ozil’s positive influence on Arsenal?

Since that hounding at Anfield, Ozil has played just seven minutes of Premier League football as a substitute in their 2-0 win over West Brom last Monday.

Mesut Ozil has seen his season hampered by poor form and injury

Reuters
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Ozil was a passenger during that 4-0 defeat at Anfield

In that time span, the Gunners have taken seven points from a possible nine including a ‘proper point’ at a fellow top-six side in Chelsea immediately after the last international break.

Ozil’s injury meant he was nowhere to be seen at Stamford Bridge, and it was no coincidence that his team-mates produced a far more organised, disciplined performance in his absence.

Arsenal have rolled over far too easily in away games against the Premier League’s elite in recent years, winning just two of 22 fixtures since Ozil arrived at the start of the 2013/14 season.

Including the draw at Chelsea in September, Arsenal have won just two away games at big six clubs since the start of the 2013/14 season

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Including the draw at Chelsea in September, Arsenal have won just two away games at big six clubs since the start of the 2013/14 season

While the likes of Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck might not be as easy on the eye, their collective input makes up for a supposed lack of creativity.

Since that 0-0 draw at Chelsea Arsenal have recorded straightforward if unstylish 2-0 wins over West Brom and Brighton.

These are typically the type of fixtures Ozil has thrived in during his Gunners’ career, but Arsenal coped fine without him and get the job done.

Iwobi scored a brilliant goal against Brighton

Rex Features
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Iwobi scored a brilliant goal against Brighton

There’s a feeling that Arsene Wenger has gone back to basics with the German star on the sidelines, subsequently making his side more effective.

With Ozil entering the final year of his contract at the Emirates this season anyway, Arsenal’s performances during his exile may have hammered the final nail in his coffin.