Mixed Mesut Ozil messages and the mistakes Arsenal manager Unai Emery keeps making Oliver Young-MylesFriday 15 Feb 2019 12:11 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link792Shares Sead Kolasinac was Arsenal’s chief creator against BATE (Getty Images)Relying solely on Kolasinac and an out-of-position Ainley Maitland-Niles on the opposite flank to carve out chances for your strikers isn’t a strategy that smacks of long-term planning and the lack of variety in their build-up play makes Arsenal one-dimensional and relatively easy to defend against. That Emery took both of them off against BATE, therefore, was rather puzzling.The return to fitness of Henrikh Mkhitaryan is timely with the Armenian creating three chances against BATE but the Armenian has generally flattered to deceive during his time at the Emirates and needs greater consistency to become a sustained attacking threat.When Emery arrived last summer, he stated: ‘We want every player to create things and find things when they’re on the ball.’ At present, if Kolasinac isn’t creating anything, there aren’t many others stepping up to the plate.AdvertisementMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityStockpiling team selections with defendersReally, this is a consequence of the previous two problems mentioned. If Emery is reluctant to use either Ozil or Ramsey, his attacking midfield options are reduced to the inconsistent pair of Alex Iwobi and Mkhitaryan. Denis Suarez is yet to put forward his case for more regular action, meanwhile.Torreira has a couple of goals and assists in the Premier League this season but his talents are better suited to the middle third of the pitch where he can break up opposition attacks and set his team on the offensive. Guendouzi is more of a passer and even less of an attacking presence, with zero goals and zero assists to his name so far.There have been occasions where those two have been deployed in a three-man midfield alongside Xhaka, who while much-improved this season, is also more of a sitting midfielder than an attack-minded one, the odd wonder-goal from distance aside. Advertisement Arsenal slumped to a disappointing defeat in Belarus (Getty Images)Arsenal have suffered disappointing defeats during Unai Emery’s time in charge but none have been as demoralising as Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Belarussian side BATE Borisov in the Europa League.Despite their iffy form of late, Arsenal were overwhelming favourites to beat a team that hadn’t played a competitive game in nine weeks and who had never won a knockout game in European competition in their history.Even Chelsea, hardly in great shape themselves at present, managed to beat BATE home and away during the group stages. It was a dismal evening for Arsenal and one exacerbated by Alexandre Lacazette’s needless sending off in the closing stages for flinging an elbow into Aleksandar Filipovic’s face. Mesut Ozil has found playing time limited under Unai Emery (Getty Images)Emery downplayed the significance of Ozil’s omission against BATE by suggesting that the team didn’t need him when beating relegation certainties Huddersfield 2-1 in the Premier League at the weekend. ‘Last week we won and we played with the same players,’ he said.That argument would stand up better had Arsenal been winning every game without Ozil but considering their form since the start of December has been patchy to say the least, it doesn’t really hold true. Ozil’s non-participation has left Arsenal fans baffled.Ozil has only featured twice since Boxing Day and while his propensity to be ‘ill’ during his time with the club has been maddening at times, so too has Emery’s rationale for leaving him out. The fans deserve to know why arguably their best player isn’t deemed good enough for a team that has been struggling.AdvertisementAdvertisementOver-reliance on wing-backsWith Emery neglecting to select Ozil and restricting Aaron Ramsey to a peripheral role with the Welshman on his way to Juventus in the summer, Arsenal lack creativity in midfield with Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira renowned more for their tenacity and ball retention skills than their ability to split opposing defences.That has meant that virtually all of Arsenal’s chances of late have been fashioned from their wing-backs in wide areas, in particular through the Bosnian man-mountain Sead Kolasinac, who ranks second only to Ozil for chances created per game in the league for Arsenal with 1.6 (to the German’s 1.8).Virtually Arsenal’s entire attacking threat against BATE came down their left flank with Kolasinac creating seven of their 11 chances throughout the game. That statistic is even more remarkable when you consider that he was substituted 15 minutes from the end. Advertisement Arsenal had a night to forget in Belarus (Getty Images)Martin Keown who was on pundit duty for BT Sport, labelled it the ‘worst performance’ of Emery’s reign so far and in this instance such a statement from a former player wasn’t laced with OTT hyperbole. In fact, it was a rather accurate summation of the events.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTThe thing is, as bad as the result was, it wasn’t exactly an anomalous performance. Even during Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run that spanned from August through to December, Emery’s team had demonstrated vulnerability at times. Since that run was ended by Southampton, Arsenal have lost half of their 14 matches in all competitions.Having exited both domestic cup competitions in meek fashion and looking outsiders to finish in the top four, Arsenal’s season is in danger of meandering towards a disappointing conclusion and Emery has shown little sign of arresting their slump in recent weeks by making the same mistakes over again.Mixed messages over Mesut OzilMesut Ozil reached a personal milestone for Arsenal last night, however, it wasn’t a particularly memorable one for the World Cup winner. His latest absence from Emery’s squad meant that since joining Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013, he has now missed a century of games for the club.It is remarkable to think that Ozil hasn’t featured in almost a third of Arsenal’s matches (100 out of a possible 313) during his five and a half years in north London, particularly when his only major injury during that time was a ruptured knee ligament that ruled him out for three months back in 2014.The ‘will he, won’t he’ soap opera surrounding Ozil’s potential involvement for Arsenal this season is bordering on farcical with Emery coming up with a plethora of excuses to explain why his highest-earning player isn’t deemed good enough to make an 18-man matchday squad. Comment Matteo Guendouzi has failed to score or assist in the Premier League this season (Getty Images)Furthermore, Emery’s insistence on playing a system that accommodates wing-backs in order to create chances, leads itself to selecting a back three formation which has rarely appeared to suit Arsenal’s defenders.By selecting three central defenders along with two or three predominantly defensive midfielders, Emery’s team lacks imagination in the final third with the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette both starved of top quality service.That was the case against Manchester City a fortnight ago when the pair had one effort on goal between them and while taking a more conservative approach to normal at the Etihad is understandable given the manner in which they can tear teams apart, doing so against lesser opponents is less so.AdvertisementMore: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? 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TURIN: Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and central defender Giorgio Chiellini have signed new one-year contracts to stay with the club until the end of the 2020-21 season, the reigning Italian champions announced on Monday.Buffon, 42, joined Juve from Parma in 2001 and has made over 669 appearances for the club, returning to Turin at the start of the campaign after one season with Paris St Germain. The 2006 World Cup winner has played 13 times in all competitions this season as back-up to Wojciech Szczesny. Centre back Chiellini, 35, entering his 16th year at Juventus, has racked up 509 appearances for the club. Both players are aiming to help Juve win a ninth consecutive league title and their first Champions League trophy since 1996. Meanwhile, Barcelona announced they have reached agreement to sell Brazil midfielder Arthur Melo to Juve in a deal worth 72 million euros ($80.91 million). Agencies Also Watch: Get Set Global: Assamese in UK coping with the Pandemic
A USC student was found dead at approximately 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Gamma Epsilon Omega fraternity house, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Though the individual’s name will not be released until the next of kin have been notified, LAPD said that he is believed to have been a member of the fraternity. LAPD and the USC Department of Public Safety are conducting an ongoing investigation and have not yet confirmed the cause of death. Paramedics were already on the scene when LAPD and DPS officers arrived and found the student unresponsive. Captain William Hayes of the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division said that the death is currently being investigated as a possible suicide, and officers do not believe hazing was involved.Hayes said residents of the fraternity house became concerned because the student had not been seen since 2 a.m., and when they went to check his room, they discovered his body. Additionally, DPS Chief John Thomas said that the information gathered so far indicates that the student’s death was not related to academic pressures. USC Student Affairs and Student Counseling Services arrived on the scene later in the evening to provide residents of the house with emotional support. The Gamma Epsilon Omega fraternity, which is unique to USC, is the first Asian-interest fraternity in Southern California. It was established in 1963 and was the first minority organization to have a house on the Row.