Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has suggested that Mesut Ozil needs to step his game up if he is to earn a return to the Arsenal team this season.
The German playmaker was once again left out of the matchday squad for Arsenal’s trip to Leicester City in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday night as the Gunners claimed a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.
Ozil, 31, has not made a single appearance for Arsenal so far this season and he was left out for the 17th game in a row on Wednesday night.
The midfielder, whose contract is set to expire next summer, is Arsenal’s highest-paid player but he has not played a single minute of football since the Premier League resumed after lockdown back in June.
Arteta has now delivered a fresh update on Ozil’s situation at The Emirates, hinting that it will be difficult for the former Real Madrid star to make his way back into the starting line-up.
Speaking in an interview quoted by the London Evening Standard after Wednesday’s game, Arteta said: “I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.
“You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it’s very difficult every week, not for Mesut but for some other players as well to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.
“It’s difficult for others as well that aren’t involved in the Premier League and didn’t play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we can’t give playing time to all of them.
“The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving. This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better. We have to keep maintaining that.
“We are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game. You can see we keep training, it’s what we’re trying to do.”
Arsenal will return to Premier League action on Monday night when they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool FC as they bid to make it three wins from three in the English top flight.
The north London side, who finished in eighth place and won the FA Cup last season, are aiming to finish in the top four and seal a return to the Champions League this season.