Mesut Ozil was named in Arsenal’s starting line-up on Saturday for only the second time this Premier League season – and Unai Emery should be criticised for the decision, according to Tony Cascarino.
The former Chelsea and Republic of Ireland forward claims Emery caved into fan pressure by starting Ozil, a player the Spaniard is clearly not keen on having outcast him this campaign.
Ozil had started only one league game before Saturday’s draw with Wolves – the 2-2 draw at Watford in September – with his two other appearances in 2019/20 coming in the Carabao Cup.
Nonetheless, the German was restored to the starting XI on Saturday, but he failed to make a noticeable impact in north London as Raul Jimenez cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opening goal to secure Wolves a point.
And Emery made a huge error selecting Ozil, Cascarino claims, with the decision made entirely to appease fans rather than for any tactical benefit.
“Unai Emery’s decision to start Mesut Özil against Wolves smacked of poor leadership,” writes Cascarino in The Times.
“If the Arsenal manager genuinely believed Özil was the man to lift his faltering team, he would have used him more than twice in the Premier League this season.
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“Instead, his selection seemed motivated by a desire to appease the Arsenal fans.
“If Emery is to turn things around at the Emirates, he needs to do more than simply pick a fan favourite.”
With Emery under real pressure in north London, various contenders to replace the Spaniard in the dugout have been named in the media – with former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho allegedly in the running.
However, Cascarino told talkSPORT on Sunday that a current Premier League coach is the perfect option for the Gunners.
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“Man United job, Arsenal job – Chris Wilder? Absolutely,” Cascarino said.
“There would be a snobbery around football that would go for [Massimiliano] Allegri or Mourinho. But I’m like, ‘No, I’d rather go with Chris Wilder’.
“He knows football, he’s a proper football person. Like Sir Alex Ferguson, Jurgen Klopp at Mainz, Pep Guardiola at Barcelona B – he’s shown what he can do.
“I believe there are managers in lower league football who are very gifted and deserve an opportunity. Chris has gone through the whole lot.”