Unai Emery challenges Mesut Ozil to defend as well as attack

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has warned Mesut Ozil he must help his team-mates to defend as he calls for commitment from all of his players.

The Gunners travel to Chelsea on Saturday evening on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in Emery’s first game in charge.

The Spaniard replaced Arsene Wenger in May and is attempting to introduce his own style and philosophy after more than two decades under the former manager.

Playing out from the back is one of those changes, as is encouraging his players to press across the pitch – demanding more from his forwards as he looks to defend from the front.

Ozil has come in for criticism for a drop in effort at times but, under Emery’s new system, Arsenal’s highest-paid player will be expected to muck in.

The former Real Madrid man endured a tough summer, culminating in his acrimonious retirement from international duty with Germany following a disappointing World Cup.

When asked about the defensive duties placed on Ozil in the City game, Emery replied: “Every player needs to (defend) in the true moment of a match.

Ozil often cut a frustrated figure at Arsenal last season.
Ozil often cut a frustrated figure at Arsenal last season. (Adam Davy/PA)

“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.

“The position, he (Ozil) is playing all his career like a number 10-player, like a right-winger going inside to receive the ball.

“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 but defensive moments are for each and every player.”

Emery stuck with a tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation against City but has hinted the system, as well as the personnel, could change until he finds the right formula.

“It depends on the performance and if the performance is good,” he said when asked about trying different systems.

“I want to give them the chances in each match and maybe we need a lot of matches for the chances for every player but we started with the pre-season and every player is playing for chances and minutes and with all the competitions.

“We only play Sunday, Sunday, Sunday but in September we will start playing Sunday and Thursday and also we are going to play more matches and I think every player will get chances to show us his performance for the team.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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