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Unai Emery Won't Confirm If Mesut Ozil Will Start for Arsenal Against Tottenham

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 1, 2019

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) shakes hands with Arsenal's Spanish head coach Unai Emery (R) after being substituted during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 22, 2018. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Unai Emery refused to confirm if Mesut Ozil will start Saturday's north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. 

The German impressed after being recalled to the side for Wednesday's 5-1 win over Bournemouth, and Emery said at a pre-match press conference what he wants to see from the German:

"The most important thing for me is if the player can be OK for tomorrow and has the desire to play. I think Mesut has this if we decided to play him tomorrow.

"He [Ozil] has had injuries, including to his back, and has been sick. I've spoken with him and told [him] that when he can be consistent and is training, and has confidence to play matches, it is better for us.

"We are doing a plan for a lot of matches and each match is different. Home and away, it depends on the position and how we are in each moment."

Ozil has started only half of Arsenal's 28 Premier League games this season but staked a claim for a starting spot against Spurs with a goal and an assist against Bournemouth on Wednesday:

James Benge @jamesbenge

Ozil is having one of those nights that make you forget about the salary, the off-field machinations, the politics. It's a privilege to see a master craftsman in this sort of mood. https://t.co/kLrt9fpyFF

Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon says Ozil must start against Spurs as Arsenal "need his creativity" in an interview with Malik Ouzia at the Evening Standard.

Victory for Arsenal over Spurs would see the Gunners move to within just a point of Mauricio Pochettino's side in third place in the Premier League table.

However, it remains to be seen if Emery will go for Ozil in what is a crucial fixture.

The German has started only three league away games since September, and Emery dropped him for the trip to Bournemouth in November because it was "a very demanding match with physicality and intensity," per the Guardian's Sachin Nakrani.

Sam Dean at the Daily Telegraph does not expect to see Ozil start at Wembley:

Sam Dean @SamJDean

Still can't see any way that Ozil starts against Spurs, mind.

Emery has a difficult decision to make with regards his starting XI for Saturday. He clearly does not trust Ozil fully, particularly away from home, but the German offers the attacking inspiration that may be needed to get a result at Tottenham.

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