Tim Sherwood has insisted that Mauricio Pochettino will not want Mesut Ozil to be named in the Arsenal starting XI for today’s north London derby showdown.
Ozil’s place in the Gunners team is in some doubt despite his impressive performance in their 5-1 midweek demolition of Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium.
But Sherwood is convinced that Arsenal manager Unai Emery would be doing his opposite number a big favour if he leaves the German playmaker on the bench.
“I can guarantee you Mauricio Pochettino before that game does not want to see Ozil’s name on the teamsheet, because he’s a threat and a potential matchwinner,” Sherwood told the Debate programme on Sky Sports on Friday night, as quoted by Sky’s Premier League Twitter account.
“I know he does it when he wants to do it, but you do not pay someone £350,000-a-week because they can just run around. They have a lot of players who can run around, the Guendouzis, the Torreiras, Elneny, Xhaka. They can’t do what he can do.
“It’s no coincidence why he’s on £350,000-a-week. It’s because he can play. He’s got magic in his boots. I’m sticking up for him here. He is the difference between them being a top-four team and not.”
Tim Sherwood has his say on Mesut Ozil ahead of the north London derby.
"He's got magic in his boots… he's the difference between #Arsenal being a Top 4 team, and not."
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 1, 2019
Given how indifferent Ozil’s performances have been in marquee matches, including plenty of north London derbies, since he joined Arsenal in the summer of 2013, Sherwood’s claim about Pochettino definitely not wanting to see the player’s name in the starting XI is a big one.
Yes, Ozil can be occasionally brilliant, and Gooners were understandably drooling over him following his performance in Wednesday’s triumph against Bournemouth.
But the German divides opinion among football followers, and indeed the entire Arsenal fanbase, because he has a tendency to go AWOL just when his team most needs him.
The dubious nature of his illnesses this season has only heightened the sense of a player who only delivers when he feels like it.
Ozil is the classic flat-track bully although when he is good, he is a matchwinner who lifts those around him. His selection or non-selection today will be a huge talking point.