Mesut Ozil sends clear message to Unai Emery ahead of Southampton clash

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Mesut Ozil insists he is ‘prepared’ to play full role in Arsenal’s festive programme after recovering from a back injury. The Germany international made his comeback in Thursday’s win over Qarabag which secured Arsenal top spot in their Europa League group. Unai Emery has masterminded a 22-match unbeaten run in all competitions and has reverted to a 3-5-2 formation in recent weeks in the absence of Ozil who missed five matches, including the rousing 4-2 win in the north London derby. Ozil, who was often given an extended break over the Christmas period by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, faces a battle to force his way back into the starting line-up but trained with the rest of the first team at Colney on Saturday, hoping to force his way back into his manager’s plans.

As well as the Ozil conundrum, Emery faces a headache over his defensive selection with both Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi suspended. Rob Holding is out injured for the rest of the season, while Laurent Koscielny made his first appearance since may following an Achilles injury on Thursday. Nacho Monreal is back in contention following a hamstring strain and summer signing Stephan Lichtsteiner could feature as a makeshift centre-half as he did as a substitute in the recent 2-2 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.




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