Meust Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and the big decisions Unai Emery must make ahead of Arsenal vs West Ham

Emery’s first team is taking shape. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Overwhelmed by Manchester City and beaten at the death by Chelsea. Despite the green shoots of recovery, Saturday’s match aganist West Ham is already a must-win affair for Unai Emery.

In truth, few expected more from a fiendishly difficult start to the campaign, though played two, lost two hardly tells the whole story.

At Stamford Bridge, the Gunners showed the character from conceding two early goals and should have been ahead, before Marcos Alonso gave the hosts all three points.

The weekend visit of pointless West Ham gives Emery a presentable opportunity to get off the mark but turning no points into three does not happen overnight.

As the Spaniard searches for his best team he is faced by several selection dilemmas which could even affect the long-term future of some of the key members of his squad.

Will Mesut Ozil keep his place?

Ozil is no longer the big-ticket player he was under Arsene Wenger. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

If Mesut Ozil had hoped the familiar confines of the Premier League would offer relief from a controversial summer with the German national team, he was wrong.

Criticised after the loss to Manchester City and hooked with the game at Chelsea poised at 2-2, Emery has offered Ozil no margin for error in his early weeks at the helm.

Playing in a position closer to his favoured No.10 role, Ozil failed to provide a telling attacking contribution, nor provdie the defensive cover and work rate Emery is demanding from every member of his first team squad.

It remains to be seen whether Ozil can survive and in what capacity he will be used by Emery in the future.

The former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss is clearly not yet convinced by him in a central position, which begs the question would he accept a wide berth?

Time to start Aubameyang and Lacazette?

Will Aubameyang and Lacazette be let loose. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Emery is clearly erring on the side of caution with regard to starting his two main forwards but an opponent such of the calibre of West Ham could offer him an opportunity to experiment.

Arsenal have looked a different proposition when the pair play together and while their positioning needs work it is clear there could be a future for them as a partnership.

Dropping Alex Iwobi after his goal at Chelsea would be harsh, but it is difficult to see how Emery can crowbar his best attacking players into his favoured formation.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the other goalscorer last Saturday and his place also looks secure on the other side of the attack.

Calls for Aubamayang and Lacazette to start together have been pretty vehement from the Arsenal faithful and there will be few better opportunities than during the visit of Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

Recall for Aaron Ramsey?

Ramsey’s future remains uncertain as he attempts to reclaim his place. (Getty Images)

Another sign that Emery will not indulge the biggest egos and reputations in this current Arsenal squad came with his decision to drop Aaron Ramsey last weekend.

Arsenal’s players were reportedly stunned by the decision, which saw the Wales international restricted to just 20 minutes in the London derby.

The move comes amid talks between the club and Ramsey about a new contract, with Arsenal hierarchy understood to be unwilling to be held to ransom over the deal.

It is clear Arsenal are only willing to keep the 27-year-old at the right price but perhaps it is time for Emery to reveal his stance on the issue.

A place on the bench for a second successive game would certainly send a message to the club’s board over where Ramsey sits in the pecking order, and thus how much financial clout should be committed to keeping him.

At the start of the campaign it seemed as though Ramsey would be a key part of Emery’s first season, perhaps even one of his captains, but now his role is now shrouded in uncertainty.


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