Sunday 21 April 2019

Emery praises versatility of Ozil and Ramsey in Arsenal bid for top four

Ozil, who was the club’s record signing at £42m when he joined them from Real Madrid in 2013, has been in and out of the Arsenal side since Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger at the end of last season. Photo: PA
Ozil, who was the club’s record signing at £42m when he joined them from Real Madrid in 2013, has been in and out of the Arsenal side since Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger at the end of last season. Photo: PA

Ben Kosky

Unai Emery believes the readiness of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey to embrace different formations has been fundamental to Arsenal's recent run of form.

The Gunners' head coach has favoured tweaking his system, particularly the forward line, during the course of matches, and is likely to continue that practice when Newcastle visit Emirates Stadium tonight.

Victory against the Magpies would bring Arsenal a 10th straight home win in the Premier League as they battle to secure a top-four place and Champions League qualification for next season.

And it was the mercurial Ozil, along with departing Wales international Ramsey, who drew specific praise from Emery as he cited their willingness to adapt to tactical change.

"I think we are taking a good performance using a different system and different players," said Emery.

"For example, we started the last two matches playing 3-4-1-2.

"But we finished it playing 3-4-3, with players helping us in the 90th minute with a different system and different positions. I think we need to continue doing that.

"Maybe we can start with one system, maybe during the match we can change and the best positive is for all the players to be ready to help us, with a good mentality for work like we need each time.

"At first I used information from last year or the last two years. Mesut can play like a No 10 player, or starting on the right or left, in a different system, and he has a good mentality.

"And also Aaron Ramsey can play in a system with two or three midfielders, getting more in the opposition box.

"I used this information with this player and I think this player's mind is very open to help us, to play in different positions and give us a big performance. He has a very good attitude to do that."

Ozil, who was the club's record signing at £42m when he joined them from Real Madrid in 2013, has been in and out of the Arsenal side since Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.

However, the former Germany international has started in each of the Gunners' last three games and Emery is satisfied by the level of his performances at the training ground and on the pitch.

"There's no change," said the Arsenal boss.

"His quality, his performance, his consistency in each training (session) and each match is good for us.

"He is training, he is playing and he is being consistent, sometimes starting in the first XI, sometimes on the bench."

Ozil and Ramsey, who missed Wales' European Championship qualifying win over Slovakia last weekend due to a thigh problem, are both expected to feature against Newcastle.

Granit Xhaka is also likely to be available for the Gunners despite limping off - also with a thigh injury - while on international duty for Switzerland.

Fellow midfielder Lucas Torreira serves the last of a three-match suspension as Emery's side attempt to recapture a top-four position at the expense of Manchester United, who climbed above them with a 2-1 win against Watford on Saturday.

Arsenal v Newcastle United Live, Sky Sports, 8.0

Arsenal (4) v Newcastle (13)

Arsenal will be without the suspended Lucas Torreiram but Aaron Ramsey and Nacho Monreal are expected to be passed fit. Fabian Schar will miss out for Newcastle through suspension, but would almost certainly have sat it out anyway after being knocked unconscious in a clash of heads during Switzerland's 2-0 win over Georgia last Saturday.

Last five league matches: Arsenal WWWDW, Newcastle WWLWD

Odds: H 4-11, A 8-1, D 19-5

Ref: A Taylor

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