The schism between Unai Emery and Mesut Ozi has caused many Arsenal fans to “choose sides,” but watch them have been in cahoots all along.
Drama always finds Arsenal when there is a story to be found, and the story this year has been how Unai Emery and Mesut Ozil could possibly coexist at the same club, when their styles were so obviously contrasting.
Yet, with Ozil now having returned from a series of injuries, we have now seen two (and a half) matches of Mesut Ozil being at his absolute best, with the crowning jewel being his masterclass against Bournemouth in which he showed a selfish side in scoring a clinical goal and his familiar unselfish side in providing a brilliant assist.
We also saw him defending near his own goal line, leading counter-attacks from deep into his own half, and utilizing his familiar magic touch, hardly playing a single ball wrong en route to completing 97% of his passes.
It was a beautiful, brilliant, best-of-all-worlds display, and Emery was celebrating for every minute of it.
There’s no hiding the friction between these two. All season, they didn’t seem to jive. But I think if you asked either one of them if they would suffer present-day frustrations for continual future success, they’d both agree heartily.
Think about it. As a manager, you want a player that can live up to your expectations, acclimate to your style of play, and perhaps surprise you from time to time with a little razzle-dazzle. That’s why Emery wasn’t “wrong” in his treatment of Ozil. He wanted the best of him.
As a player, you want a manager who is going to get the best out of you by demanding you to perform at the top of your abilities as frequently as possible. Which, again, vindicates what Emery did, and vindicates Ozil’s determination to stick with it while keeping a positive attitude in spite of it all.
At the end of the day, whether it be unwittingly or not, these two could end up looking like geniuses for their ability to emerged out of a supposed “feud” with it looking like they’ve been in cahoots to make each other look brilliant all season.
There’s still a ways to go, but the foundation has been set. Emery’s dogged determination to maximize Ozil’s skill and Ozil’s persistence and desire to prove himself might well maximize themselves in the best way possible. Only time will tell.