06122021

Mikel Arteta offers hope to Ozil & Guendouzi ahead of Aston Villa


Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that he has not yet ruled out the possibility of either Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi returning to play a role for his side in their remaining fixtures this season.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

The Gunners are set to return to Premier League action tomorrow night.

After booking their spot in the FA Cup final with an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City over the weekend, Arteta’s men will make the trip to Villa Park in 24 hours’ time.

Arsenal will enter the clash hoping to keep their slim hopes of Europa League qualification via a top-7 finish alive, with the north Londoners in 10th spot at present, 5 points adrift of Tottenham (albeit with a game in hand).

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 26: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on prior to the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images )

Aston Villa, though, will head into tomorrow’s matchup even more desperate for a victory of their own.

Dean Smith’s men are currently fighting to maintain their Premier League status, sitting 3 points adrift of safety as things stand.

‘Always a way back’

As such, ahead of what is no doubt set to prove a stern test for his side, Mikel Arteta was today drawn on his squad’s stellar recent spell of form.

The resurgence of Granit Xhaka in particular was highlighted, with the Swiss midfielder having of course bounced back from what looked set to be the end of his Arsenal career in October of last year, to now represent one of the Gunners’ key men:

‘The challenge with Granit was to convince him that there was still a place for him here, that I had big belief in him and that things can turn around pretty quickly in this industry,’ Arteta said when asked about Xhaka’s return to form.’

‘He had to send the right messages, first of all he had to believe that he could do it and if that was the case we were going to support him all the way through. I am really glad to hear and sense as well the reaction from the fans towards him.’

Significantly, Arteta then added that:

‘If you are willing and if you are consistent and you really want to do it there is always a way back.’

This admission, in turn, resulted in the respective situations of Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil being put to the Arsenal boss.

Neither has played any role in the north Londoners’ last 8 outings, amid suggestions that the two midfielders may have already played their final games in Arsenal’s colours.

Arteta, though, was keen to provide hope to both Ozil and Guendouzi, explaining:

‘That applies for any player and any member of the staff. All players know this.’

‘If you show that, that you decide to do the best not only for yourself but for the team and for the club, I think everyone will welcome you.’

‘It’s not just me that needs to give the green light, it’s everybody that has to be supportive. You need to feel that support from everybody because otherwise it’s a very uncomfortable situation.’

Quotes via the Daily Mail

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 36 48 93
2 Manchester City 36 58 75
3 Chelsea FC 36 15 63
4 Leicester City 37 28 62
5 Manchester United 36 28 62
6 Tottenham Hotspur 37 14 58
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 11 56
8 Sheffield United 36 3 54
9 Burnley FC 37 -6 54
10 Arsenal FC 36 8 53
11 Southampton FC 37 -11 49
12 Everton FC 36 -11 46
13 Newcastle United 36 -18 43
14 Crystal Palace 36 -17 42
15 West Ham United 36 -13 37
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 36 -16 37
17 Watford FC 36 -23 34
18 Aston Villa 36 -27 31
19 AFC Bournemouth 37 -27 31
20 Norwich City 37 -44 21
Player Team Goals
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 23
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 21
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 20
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 19
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 17
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United 17
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers 17
Martial, Anthony Manchester United 17
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur 17
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 17
Aguero, Sergio Manchester City 16
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 14
Jesus, Gabriel Manchester City 13
Richarlison Everton FC 13
Wood, Chris Burnley FC 13
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 13
De Bruyne, Kevin Manchester City 11
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 11
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 11
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 10



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