Arsenal

Arsenal: Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil face late fitness tests ahead of Liverpool clash

Arsenal: Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil face late fitness tests ahead of Liverpool clash

Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil face late fitness tests ahead of the clash away to Liverpool tomorrow, according to BBC Sport.

The two midfielders were out last week against Burnley, with Xhaka suffering from a bruised back and leg, and Ozil missing the fixture due to a minor illness.

The German playmaker also missed the game against Newcastle United due to security concerns.

A win at Anfield will mean a win in the opening three Premier League games of a season for the first time since 2004.

Not having the two established stars for the game at Anfield may not be as big of a blow as it seems. The pair have been criticised in the past for their performances in away games, and having them out would increase Arsenal’s chances of getting a shock result at Anfield.

Back in 2017, Xhaka was criticised by fans for his role in Tom Cleverley’s winner for Watford against the north London giants. The Switzerland international was just yards away watching the Englishman who ran past him to slot home the winner from the edge of the box.

Ozil has also been criticised for his role in away games, often blasted for ‘disappearing’ during big games. Glenn Hoddle was critical of the former German international back in 2017 when Arsenal lost 3-1 away to Chelsea, with the former England manager saying that Ozil didn’t step up in the game.

The arguments against the duo go far beyond just pundits and fans. Last season, Xhaka made the second-most mistakes leading to goals in Unai Emery’s squad (2).

If you’re thinking of playing a defensive formation to contain Liverpool’s tricky trio, then Dani Ceballos over Ozil is the way to go.

Against Burnley, the 23-year-old midfielder took part in 19 duels and recovered the ball seven times. His hunger and desire to win the ball back at any opportunity was evident and can be seen in the second goal, where his interception of the ball set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the winner.

With Xhaka and Ozil facing late fitness tests, it would be better for Emery to keep the duo on the bench anyway. The duo have a history of being unreliable and should not be started against a Liverpool attack that has scored 15 goals in their last four home games against Arsenal.

Should the duo start or not? Join the discussion by commenting below… 

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