'Emery must stop Ozil switching off' - Playmaker poses a challenge for Arsenal boss, says Smith

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One new man in charge at Emirates Stadium has been told that bringing the best out an enigmatic talent will be one of his biggest challenges

Mesut Ozil is set to pose Unai Emery with one of his biggest challenges at Arsenal manager, says Alan Smith, with the enigmatic playmaker having a tendency to switch off.

There has never been any doubting the German’s ability, with the 29-year-old having tasted trophy triumphs with Real Madrid and the Gunners and World Cup glory with his country.

He has, however, faced plenty of criticism throughout his career, with it often suggested that Ozil can go missing when the chips are down and he is not granted freedom to express himself.

Emery will be desperate to find consistency in a key man this season, with a positive relationship between player and coach required if the pair are to deliver collective success.

Former Gunners striker Smith told the Express on that battle: “For me, this is a relationship that could go one of two ways – whether Ozil responds to Emery or whether he doesn’t.

“There have been times in recent years when Ozil seems to have switched off and lost the ball, and the team have lost the ball and the team have suffered.

“It’s going to be fascinating how Emery deals with that. Ozil is a player who signed for fortunes and he is expected to play.

“That is going to be one of the most interesting things to watch. How is Ozil going to fit in with the new regime?

“He has had a turbulent summer with all that went on, then the World Cup, which was a disaster for Germany.

“He needs to settle down now. I’m sure he will be desperate to do well. And Arsenal need him. He is one of the key creative players. On his day, there are not many like him in the Premier League.

“Emery has to get hold of Ozil, try to get the best out of him, get him on board.”

Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2018-19

Ozil committed to a new contract with Arsenal last season under Arsene Wenger, with the club now welcoming in a new era after bidding farewell to a long-serving boss after 22 years.

“It was obvious that there needed to be change this summer at Arsenal,” said Smith.

“The place had grown stale. Now the fans are going into the new season with optimism and that is a difference this year. Everyone is intrigued about how it is going to go.

“To an extent, Emery came out of nowhere. He was not on the original shortlist. His track record at Sevilla though was very good and he had far more experience than Mikel Arteta.

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“Emery is a Basque and they are a tough people. He will be a taskmaster. Chalk and cheese really to Wenger. The pre-season training will have been hard for the players. They will have found that out by now.”

He added: “I think Arsenal will be more organised this year, tougher at the back. But it will take time to get used to what Emery wants.

“Arsenal will score goals – they have the players for that. But the key is in defence. There was a lack of accountability in the team last season and the same players kept getting picked. It drove everybody mad. They have to be more difficult to break down this season, more solid.”

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