There was a period during this campaign that even the most ardent fan of Mesut Ozil was forced to concede that all was not right between the German playmaker and the club. Although there was never any official explanation uncovering any perceived problem between the Gunners ace and manager Unai Emery, there was a whole lot of speculation. They had fallen out, some claimed. Ozil was on his way out of the exit door at the Emirates, others said. The club put Ozil’s absence from the team down to niggling injures such as back spasms.
What can’t be denied is that the former Real Madrid ace wasn’t making the first team — for whatever reason. But now he is back, and has made a telling contribution as Emery’s men chase a top four spot in the Premier League and also try to progress past Napoli in the quarter finals of the Europa League knockout stages.
And one team-mate who firmly believes that Ozil back in contention for a starting place is nothing but a good thing for the club in Nacho Monreal. He believes Ozil is a class act and that no-one should ever question his commitment. Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, Montreal said: “Mesut had some small problems and he missed a few games, but he’s with the team again and he’s fighting. If you see him training or playing you can see that he’s completely committed to the team and that’s really good.
“He’s very important for us and he’s a top-quality player. He helps us a lot with assists and scoring goals. When the other teams see him on the pitch, they say, ‘Oh Mesut is here, we need to be careful’ so he’s an important player.”
Meanwhile, it hasn’t gone unnoticed just how important a contribution Monreal himself has made to the Gunners cause even though he admits he has been frustrated with a few injuries and also a dip in form. Overall, though, his adaptability and versatility along the back line has proved invaluable for the north London outfit.
He said: “This season has been a bit different for me because it’s been the first one when I’ve had a few injuries in a row and I’ve missed a lot of games. I lost my form over the last few months, but now I’m back I’ve started to feel better again. The team is happy and lucky to have two left backs who try to help the team.
“I’m really happy with my past performances, but as I’ve said, I just try to give my best every single day, every single training session and every game. I try to help and I’m happy doing that.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal have confirmed that due to participation in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, the fixture at home to Crystal Palace has been re-scheduled to Sunday, April 21 (originally Saturday, April 20), kick off 4pm.
And the outstanding fixture at Wolves will now be played on Wednesday, April 24 (originally Saturday, March 16), kick off 7.45pm.
If the Gunners progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League, the fixture against Leicester City on April 29 will be rescheduled; and the fixture date versus Brighton and Hove Albion (May 4) is also still subject to change.