Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has warned Mesut Ozil he must help his team-mates to defend as he calls for commitment from all of his players.
The Gunners travel to Chelsea this evening on the back of a 2-0 home defeat to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in Emery’s first game in charge.
The Spaniard replaced Arsene Wenger in May and is attempting to introduce his own style and philosophy after more than two decades under the former manager.
Playing out from the back is one of those changes, as is encouraging his players to press across the pitch — demanding more from his forwards as he looks to defend from the front.
Ozil has come in for criticism for a drop in effort at times but, under Emery’s new system, Arsenal’s highest-paid player will be expected to muck in.
The former Real Madrid man endured a tough summer, culminating in his acrimonious retirement from international duty with Germany following a disappointing World Cup.
When asked about the defensive duties placed on Ozil in the City game, Emery replied: “Every player needs to (defend) in the true moment of a match.
“There are defensive moments and attacking moments. Every player each needs this commitment. For me, we need to start together, whether we are attacking or defending. I want that from every player.
The position, he (Ozil) is playing all his career like a number 10-player, like a right-winger going inside to receive the ball.
“It’s clear he needs the ball more to give more options in the attacking moments. He needs to do (it) in each match, be demanding for us but defensive moments are for each and every player.”
Emery stuck with a tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation against City but has hinted the system, as well as the personnel, could change until he finds the right formula.
“It depends on the performance and if the performance is good,” he said when asked about trying different systems.
“I want to give them the chances in each match and maybe we need a lot of matches for the chances for every player but we started with the pre-season and every player is playing for chances and minutes and with all the competitions.
“We only play Sunday, Sunday, Sunday but in September we will start playing Sunday and Thursday and also we are going to play more matches and I think every player will get chances to show us his performance for the team.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard can be the best player in Europe — if he wants to be.
Hazard has often sparkled in six years at Chelsea, bringing comparisons with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Belgium playmaker could make his first start of the season against Arsenal and will be expected to do well after a strong showing at the World Cup.
Sarri said: “We are talking about one of the most important players in Europe now but, in my opinion, he can improve more. He can be the first.
“It depends on him. The best for technical skill, the best for scoring, but I think it depends only on him. On his mind.”
The 27-year-old is beginning his seventh season at Chelsea and has twice won the Premier League title. He hinted after helping Belgium finish third at Russia 2018 that he was ready for a new challenge.
Rumours of a switch to Real Madrid have been persistent and have grown as Hazard has two years remaining on his current contract and has been deliberating over the offer of an extension for some time.
The Spanish transfer window remains open until August 31, but Sarri has no doubts Hazard will be with Chelsea for the rest of the season, despite the absence of Champions League football after the Blues’ fifth-placed finish in last season’s Premier League.
“Of course, I was concerned about this problem,” Sarri added.
“The first time I have spoken to him, I was sure he would stay. So I was concerned for 20 days, no more.
“I have spoken with him very often in the last 10 days. He has never said to me anything about this. I am sure Eden will be with us for this season.”
Asked to explain his certainty, the 59-year-old Italian said: “Because Chelsea are one of the most important clubs in Europe. I think one of the most important clubs in Europe cannot sell an important player without the possibility of buying a player on the same level.”
The Blues boss also expressed optimism Alvaro Morata can return to form.
Morata scored eight goals in eight competitive appearances at the start of last season, but he has one Premier League goal in 15 appearances in 2018.
I am not worried about Morata. Morata is a very good player,” Sarri added.
“He needs to score. As all strikers in the world, I think.”
Today will be Sarri and Emery’s first London derby.
It was put to Sarri that former Paris St Germain boss Emery’s side struggled against champions Manchester City last Sunday.
“For everybody it’s difficult against Manchester City,” Sarri said.
Sarri believes the Gunners and the Blues will be in direct competition for a top-four place this season.
He also reckons Emery can do well as successor to the Gunners’ boss of almost 22 years, Arsene Wenger.
“This coach has the ability to start a new era,” Sarri said.
“He won three times the Europa League, and won in France, so we’re talking about a very good coach.”
Cesc Fabregas is missing against his former club, due to a minor knee injury, but fellow midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who is on loan from Real Madrid, could make his debut.