Jeremie Aliadiere says he “can’t understand” why Mesut Ozil is not in Unai Emery’s Arsenal team.
The Spaniard has repeatedly left Ozil out of the team this season with speculation growing that he is set to leave the Emirates.
The former Germany international is the club's highest-paid player but has been made to watch from the sidelines as Arsenal have stuttered through the Christmas and New Year period.
And former Gunners striker Aliadiere is at a loss to explain Ozil’s continued omission from the team.
“It depends what kind of system you want to play,” Aliadiere told Love Sport Radio . “I understand the system with three at the back but if he wants to play three centre-backs…
“I think what he is trying to do is give everyone their best positions and to try to help everyone, and I know playing three at the back, you give [Hector] Bellerin and [Sead] Kolasinac less defensive worries and more offensive jobs to do.
“They obviously enjoy that but at the same time you miss having a No 10 and having Mesut Ozil in the team. It's very difficult. In my opinion, obviously I would have Mesut Ozil in the team all day long and I would have [Lucas] Torreira as well.”
Defeat to the Hammers was the team’s fifth league defeat of the season, and Emery’s Arsenal revival has gone seriously awry since the autumn when they racked up 22 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Ozil’s performance in a 3-1 win over Leicester back in October was hailed as one of his best in an Arsenal shirt, and his absence from the team has coincided with the Gunners' collapse.
“There is a big hole in the middle of the park, like a No 10, and that position is the best for Mesut Ozil,” said Aliadiere. “I can't understand why he can't see that. That is just so obvious. We've been missing him a lot.
"There is no-one in that team that can find a pass, that can see something that he can, that can see [Alexandre] Lacazette and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang.
"We're going to judge them for not touching the ball or not scoring, but if you haven't got the service, it is very difficult. We don't have anyone on the pitch that can do what he can, so why he's not playing, I don't know.”