English Premiership

Arteta insists all players will start with a clean slate

2019-12-24 11:34
Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Newly-appointed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said all players would start with a clean slate, after being asked about the future of out-of-favour midfielder Mesut Ozil.

The Spaniard was confirmed as the Gunners' new head coach on Friday, signing a three-and-a-half-year deal, and will be in the dugout for the first time when he takes his new charges to Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

The former Manchester City assistant was in the stands to watch the north Londoner's goalless draw with Everton on Saturday, a match Ozil missed.

The official reason given for the German playmaker's absence was a foot injury sustained in the 3-0 home loss to Manchester City.

However, there had been reports Ozil was left out of the squad for the trip to Everton due to his reaction to being substituted in the clash with City with interim boss Freddie Ljungberg confirming he had spoken to him about his actions.

The former Real Madrid man's attitude and apparent lethargy on the pitch has often riled sections of the Arsenal fanbase, who have called on the club's top earner to do more to help the Gunners' cause.

Recent transfer speculation had suggested Ozil could be allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium in January but Arteta has seemingly refuted that by indicating he is ready to wipe the slate clean for the majority of the squad.

When asked about Ozil's future, Arteta said: "You're not going to be judged on what you done in the past, positive or negative.

"We will try to put the most competitive team out; we are to be ready and nullify them as much as possible."

Granit Xhaka is another who could be offered a new beginning having fallen out with the fans earlier in the season following his poor reaction to being substituted in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The Spaniard, who is taking on his first head coaching role having worked as an assistant to Pep Guardiola at City for the last three years, went on to say that he wanted the players to take "accountability" for playing for Arsenal.

The 37-year-old also confirmed we will keep Ljungberg on as part of his backroom staff, the former Arsenal midfielder having recently been linked with a move to Swedish side Malmo.

- TeamTalk Media


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