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Too good to lose! Ozil & Alexis must continue stepping up for Arsenal to make top four

22:43 BST 17/04/2017
Mesut Ozil Arsenal
The talismanic duo are out of contract next summer and it's vital that the Gunners do all they can to keep them at the Emirates Stadium


It’s been a while since Arsenal supporters have sung the infamous ‘We’ve got Ozil' chant which was previously heard with much gusto at the start of the season. The Germany international’s form has dipped since the turn of the year and against Middlesbrough he showed in spells why keeping him at the club is crucial in not only challenging for major honours - but equally attracting other marquee names to Emirates Stadium.

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Ozil’s contract expires next summer and he has recently confirmed that talks will resume at the end of the season, when clarity will also be given on the future of manager Arsene Wenger.

Alexis Sanchez too emphasised why it is imperative that the Gunners keep him as well as Ozil after netting a sublime free-kick just minutes before half-time. Goal understands that Manchester City are leading the chase for the Chilean magician but Wenger will do everything to keep his star player at the club, even if demands of almost £300,000-a-week appear to be stumping Arsenal.

After the game the Frenchman claimed that contract talks for both players aren't a matter of urgency, but the fans will certainly say differently after watching Alexis and Ozil guide the Gunners to a win on Monday night.

Wenger surprised everyone with his formation change to a 3-4-3 before the game. Six changes represented the most made by any side in the top-flight this term and more than Wenger has made between league matches in six years. Wenger last played three at the back well before the turn of the millennium and the inclusion of 21-year-old Rob Holding - in for the injured Shkodran Mustafi - was a brave call considering the England Under-21 star has not played for the senior squad since August.

It was apt that Wenger decided to copy the same formation which Chelsea coach Antonio Conte reverted to after losing 3-0 against the Gunners back in September. There wasn’t a noticeable difference in the quality and they remain well short of the Blues in terms of overall quality, but it was crucial that Arsenal ended their shocking away form after losing four consecutive top flight matches on the trot.

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Boro are the least threatening side in front of goal in the Premier League this season, averaging less than three shots on target a match and that stat was certainly evident until five minutes after the break. A counterattack saw five Boro players run against three Arsenal defenders and Stewart Downing did his best Arjen Robben impression, cutting inside Nacho Monreal before finding Alvaro Negredo with a pinpoint cross.

The poor decison making by Monreal once again showed the need for the Emirates Stadium outfit to sign a left-back who is capable of winning one-on-one duels and it's no surprise to see Schalke's Sead Kolasinac on the verge of signing for the north Londoners on a free transfer.

Fortunately for Arsenal, their talismen showed how much they want to be playing in Europe next season. As it stands it looks like Ozil is the most likely to stay at the club next season and despite having a poor 2017 it is worth noting that this is his best goalscoring season at club level. If Arsenal want to secure a top four spot then they need to keep their two best players at the club - no ifs or buts about it.