Unai Emery wants Mesut Ozil to be “demanding” for Arsenal and has employed his star man to join in on the defensive work in each match as the coach seeks to revive the fortunes of the mercurial playmaker.
After initially shining brightly in north London following his move from Real Madrid in 2013, Ozil has struggled for consistency in recent seasons.
The 29-year-old German, who retired from international duty after the World Cup amid allegations of discriminatory treatment , has continued to be the subject of intense scrutiny at club level.
Ozil failed to make an impact in the Gunners’ 2-0 loss at home to reigning champions Manchester City in the opening round of the Premier League season last weekend and the German has been consistently questioned over his defensive work-rate.
And Emery emphasised the potential importance of the former Schalke and Werder Bremen player, if he can return to his best.
“The positioning, Ozil is playing all his career like a 10 player or like a right winger going inside to receive the ball,” he said.
“It’s clear he needs the ball more to give more options in the attacking moments. He needs to do [it] in each match, be demanding for us.”
And when questioned about Ozil’s work on the defensive side, Emery made it clear that every player in the team would be required to put in the effort in recovering the ball.
“Defensive moments are for each and every player,” the manager said.
“Don’t change Mesut Ozil in his positioning. Every player needs to do [defensive work] in the true moment of a match.
“There are defensive moments and attacking moments. Every player each needs this commitment.
“For me, we need to start together, whether we are attacking or defending. I want that from every player.”
Ozil and Arsenal are back in action on Saturday with another tough test in the form of a London derby against Chelsea.