Pick Mesut Ozil for the big games, begs ex-Arsenal winger

Thursday, March 14th, 2019 5:39pm

By James Gray @jamestingray

Mesut Ozil must play for Arsenal tonight because he has the quality to pull them back into their Europa League, according to ex-Gunner Jimmy Carter.

Unai Emery's side are looking to overturn a 3-1 defeat against Rennes in the Europa League and is expected to welcome Ozil back into the team.

The German has only started 15 Premier League games so far this season with the manager often citing his inability to cope with the intense physical nature of some encounters.

But Carter is desperate to see the 30-year-old in action, especially given the importance of the competition to the Gunners this season.

"I think these type of games are when you want your best players out on the pitch and for me Ozil is quality," Carter told Ian Stone's Comedy Breakfast.

"I know he's had a few problems this year and he hasn't played as much as he probably would have liked but in the big games you've got to put your best XI and Arsenal need that to pull it back this evening."

Arsenal will also be able to select Alexandre Lacazette after his suspension was reduced from three games to two.

Carter added: "It will be a full house at the Emirates tonight and I'm pretty confident that they're going to turn it round.

"Lacazette will come back in after suspension and that will boost Arsenal. It will be exciting whatever happens, though."

The Gunners find themselves fighting on two fronts with the Europa League and the Premier League both offering potential routes into next season's Champions League.

The battle for qualification into Europe's premier club competition has become a four-horse race for two winning spots though, with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United all battling for third and four place.

But Carter is confident of beating their rivals to a place in the lucrative top four - even if they go out to Rennes.

"The manager has been a big surprise. I don't think if you spoke to any of the supporters at the start of the season, with that transition from Arsene Wenger, would have expected them to go on a 20-odd game unbeaten run," Carter said.

"During the season, you're not going to play well every week and it's about how you cope with that as a club.

"I'm sure with the results recently, and especially the Manchester United result, that Arsenal have shown that they are going to be a real threat and look strong for a top-four finish this year."

 

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