Sky Sports pundit: What I really think about Mesut Ozil at Arsenal
Former Man United striker Andy Cole delivers his verdict on Mesut Ozil's situation at Arsenal
Andy Cole has likened Mesut Ozil’s current situation at Arsenal to a “comedy sketch”.
The 30-year-old was a noticeable absentee from Arsenal’s squad for the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 clash at BATE Borisov on Thursday night.
The World Cup winner had posted a snap of Arsenal’s final training session before their trip to Belarus to suggest that he wasn’t struggling with an injury.
Arsenal slumped to a shock 1-0 loss to BATE Borisov in Ozil’s absence to leave their continued participation in the competition in doubt ahead of next week’s return leg at The Emirates.
Ozil has only started 13 games in the Premier League this season, scoring three goals and making one assist.
The former Germany international’s last top-flight appearance came in a 2-1 win over Cardiff City at the end of January.
Former Manchester United striker Cole expressed his bemusement at Ozil’s situation.
“It’s becoming a bit of a comedy sketch at the moment,” Cole told Sky Sports. “We know how talented he is.
“The manager has decided maybe he doesn’t want him in the team, he doesn’t work hard enough or whatever, but sometimes when you have that luxury, I think some of the boys in the team would be prepared to work a little bit harder to get him on the ball to produce that magic.
“Arsenal over the previous years, when Wenger was there, did that. You’ve got to play your best players when you need them, and Ozil is one of Arsenal’s best.
“If you asked Lacazette and Aubameyang: ‘Do you want Mesut to play?’ they’d say yes all day long, all day long! It’s really, really strange.”
Ozil has lifted three FA Cup titles since his move to Arsenal but the German star has been unable to win the Premier League or the Champions League at the north London side.
The Gunners will need to overturn their first-leg deficit considering a top-four finish is far from guaranteed given competition from Chelsea FC and Manchester United.
Arsenal finished in sixth spot in the Premier League last season.