Why Mesut Ozil is crucial to fixing Arsenal’s dreadful away form

first_img Skip Ad Full Screen Coming Next Arsenal’s remaining Premier League fixtures Everton (a), Watford (a), Crystal Palace (h), Wolves (a), Leicester (a), Brighton (h), Burnley (a) Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE SPONSORED Mesut Ozil has started Arsenal’s last four games in all competitions (Picture: Getty)Arsenal’s top four ambitions were boosted on Monday night as a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at the Emirates propelled them into third place in the Premier League table with just a handful of games remaining.Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette were enough to extend Arsenal’s winning run at home in the Premier League to ten games and a there is a growing sense of optimism that Unai Emery can deliver Champions League football next season.Having played the role of underdogs in the race to finish in the top four for much of the season, Arsenal are now in pole position to do just that having clambered two points above a Tottenham side in freefall.AdvertisementAdvertisementImpressive as Arsenal’s recent results have been, though, there are concerns amongst the club’s supporters that their iffy away form could yet prove to be their undoing. Of Arsenal’s seven remaining Premier League games, five are to be played away and Emery himself acknowledged that improvements are required beyond the Emirates.ADVERTISEMENT Oliver Young-MylesSaturday 6 Apr 2019 11:00 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link by Metro Why Mesut Ozil is crucial to fixing Arsenal’s dreadful away form Bernd Leno is yet to keep a Premier League clean sheet away from the Emirates (Getty Images)While Arsenal have kept seven clean sheets and conceded only 12 goals at the Emirates – only Liverpool and Chelsea (both ten) have let in fewer at home in the Premier League this season – they have shipped 27 away from home, a difference of 1.22 goals per game.Remarkably, they haven’t kept a single clean sheet away this season from 14 attempts, even conceding to notoriously goal-shy Huddersfield as well as a doomed Fulham team.European strugglesArsenal’s problems away haven’t been solely restricted to domestic duties either. Although they secured group stage victories against limited opponents Vorskla in Russia, Qarabag in Azerbaijan and a slightly better Sporting team in Portugal, they have since lost twice from two Europa League knockout games.AdvertisementAdvertisementA 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov in Belarus was humiliating given the chasm in finances and quality between the two teams, while a 3-1 reverse to Ligue 1 mid-table side Stade Rennais left the Gunners in a precarious position to reach the quarter-finals prior to their 3-0 win in the return.Much has been made of Arsenal’s favourable end of season run-in due to the fact they will not have to play any of their top-six rivals, yet defeats against BATE and Rennes show that they cannot afford to underestimate any side on their travels. Arsenal were left stunned by BATE Borisov in Belarus (Getty Images) Read More Rio Ferdinand tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop struggling Read More Advertisement Manchester United captain Harry Maguire Read More Skip 1/1 Although it is undoubtedly a bonus that they will not have to face a direct rival, there are potential banana skin fixtures that could trip Arsenal up. Everton have won two and drawn one of the previous five meetings between the two clubs at Goodison Park and are in decent form having enjoyed back-to-back 2-0 victories over Chelsea and West Ham.Watford beat Arsenal 2-1 in the corresponding fixture last season and are a stronger side this term, Wolves have been beaten only three times in 12 games against top-six opponents this season, Leicester are on a good run under Brendan Rodgers and Burnley rank sixth for Premier League points won in 2019.How can Emery rectify Arsenal’s away form?Arsenal’s previous away game in the Premier League was actually one of their better performances this season as only a Hugo Lloris penalty save from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in injury time denied them all three points in the north London derby at Wembley.That encouraging display could form the basis for Emery’s tactical thinking beyond the Emirates for the remainder of the campaign considering Arsenal not only stifled Tottenham’s attack with relative comfort but also carried a major threat going forward.AdvertisementEmery has been criticised at times for adopting too pragmatic an approach in games away from home particularly through sacrificing one or two of his more creative midfielders and one of his major strikers in favour of greater solidity in midfield.In the 3-2 defeat to Southampton at St Mary’s in December, all three of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette were named on the substitutes’ bench with the more industrious pairing of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan supplementing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front. Read More / Speaking after the Newcastle win, Emery challenged his players to find the same consistency on their travels as they have in N7, yet how will he instigate a turnaround in their performances on the road? 1 min. story Video Settings Read More Arsenal have turned the Emirates into a fortress, winning their last ten Premier League games at home (Getty Images)Arsenal home form vs away formHome comforts play a big part in football and in general, teams are expected to pick up more points in their own stadium than elsewhere. Of the 20 teams in the Premier League this season, only Crystal Palace have won a greater proportion of their points away (20) than at home (16).Nevertheless, picking up points on the road is vital to a team’s overall success and Arsenal’s record away from home contrasts starkly with that of their top-six rivals. While Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea (in that order) occupy the top five places in the Premier League away table, Arsenal are down in tenth. Comment Top articles PLAY Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil have performed well in tandem in recent weeks (Getty Images)Ramsey and Ozil were both absent from the starting XI for January’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium too and although Lacazette was partnered with Aubameyang up front on that occasion, the pair were desperately short of meaningful service, conjuring up one shot on target between them.Having predominantly selected two defensive-minded central midfield players for the majority of the campaign, Emery made a bold decision to include all four of Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil and Ramsey from the start against Manchester United and Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners.Crow-barring Arsenal’s four best attacking players into the same line-up on that occasion worked well with Ramsey’s movement, Ozil’s creativity and the ruthlessness of Aubameyang and Lacazette’s partnership up front all causing havoc. Sead Kolasinac’s bursts down the left flank have also provided added thrust to Arsenal’s attacking moves in the second half of the season.Although Emery has a tendency to embrace the pragmatic side of the game, Arsenal are unquestionably a better side going forward than they are at defending their own goal and it is debatable that they have the players to grind out victories away from home.AdvertisementWith the firepower that Arsenal possesses, they should be confident of out-scoring all seven of their remaining opponents. Achieve that and Arsenal will be assured of Champions League football next season.More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors About Connatix V67539 How Arsenal’s home form contrasts with their away form (Metro)In fact, Arsenal’s total points (19) away from home is fewer than Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Watford and Wolves. That Arsenal could leapfrog all of those teams with a win over Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday doesn’t detractt from their poor overall record. Such a result would still have them six points away from Chelsea in fifth.Arsenal haven’t had much of an issue finding the net in their away fixtures with their average of 1.85 goals per game not too far removed from their home total of 2.29 per game, however, their respective defensive records are vastly different. 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