While they are not completely out of the race for top four yet, it is looking increasingly likely that Arsenal will have to win the Europa League in order to secure Champions League qualification.
Before they can start to think about achieving European glory this season, though, the north London club first have to overcome Unai Emery’s former side Valencia.
And former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas believes the upcoming tie against the La Liga outfit could be one where Mesut Ozil is needed.
“Emery knows Valencia aren’t going to be overly physical, do Arsenal need to play with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette closer together with Mesut Ozil back in?,” Nicholas wrote in his Sky Sports prediction column.
“These are the types of games which Ozil can really do something in. Thursday may, finally, just be Ozil’s night.”
This season, Ozil has had to settle for a bit-part role. But now going into some huge clashes against Valencia, Brighton and Burnley, Emery would be wise to keep the German playmaker in his side.
Ozil is one of few quality players the Spaniard actually has at his disposal and can provide the Gunners with the sort of creativity they need to break down Valencia, as well as the more defensive-minded Brighton and Burnley.
Without him, as they did against Leicester City, Arsenal could really struggle to fashion out chances when Marcelino’s men take to the Emirates pitch.
In certain games, it has not been hard to understand Emery’s thinking behind leaving Ozil out. But as Nicholas has suggested, this home tie versus Valencia is probably one where you want the 30-year-old in the starting XI.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience