The future “doesn’t look very good” for Mesut Ozil at Arsenal, admits Ian Wright, with the World Cup winner having gone from captain to seeing Sead Kolasinac picked in midfield ahead of him.
The German playmaker has become something of a fringe figure under Unai Emery over recent weeks.
A Spanish coach is yet to be convinced of the 30-year-old’s worth amid another inconsistent campaign, with Ozil being forced to contend with regular spells on the bench as a result.
Emery had hoped to make his side more solid by naming Kolasinac on the left wing, and Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi as his central midfield pairing, but the Gunners were still overrun.
With Ozil not even introduced when chasing the game, Wright fears that his time in north London may be coming to an end.
The Arsenal legend told Match of the Day 2: "Captain one week, next week he plays a left-back in midfield ahead of arguably our most creative player.
"Doesn't look very good for him."
With no Ozil to provide inspiration, and Arsenal remaining alarmingly leaky at the back, Wright concedes that Emery’s side may struggle to force their way back into the Premier League’s top four this season.
They spent two campaigns on the outside of that pack towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign and the form of others could lead to them completing an unwelcome hat-trick in 2019.
"If we're going to play like that, and we were playing Manchester City and they're the best, but the defending was not great," added Wright.
"If Manchester United continue their form, Chelsea have got Gonzalo Higuain who has hit the ground running, and Tottenham Hotspur are still doing great things even with injuries, it might be a little bit out of reach, but the Europa League may be the best route in.
"I'm not saying write off top four because there are teams that Arsenal can still beat."
Arsenal could still secure a Champions League spot through their continental endeavours.
They have reached the last 32 of the Europa League and the victors of that competition will be granted a place among the elite for 2019-20.