4:30 AM UTC
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
7:00 AM UTC
Game Details
Tottenham Hotspur
7:00 AM UTC
Game Details
Crystal Palace
7:00 AM UTC
Game Details
Manchester City
Manchester United
9:30 AM UTC
Game Details

No recent activity

 By Ian Holyman

Arsenal should sign Riyad Mahrez, get rid of Mesut Ozil - Emmanuel Petit

Arsenal great Emmanuel Petit has told Arsene Wenger he should bring Riyad Mahrez to the club and ditch the "defeatist" Mesut Ozil.

Mahrez, 26, has made little secret of his desire to leave Leicester City, with Arsenal mooted by British media as a potential destination for the 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year.

Petit, who won the Premier League and FA Cup with Arsenal in 1998, told SFR Sport's "Le Vestiaire" that the Algeria international would give the Gunners the cutting edge they need.

"He knows the Premier League by heart, and has an incredible impact in it," he said. "He's the kind of player cruelly lacking for Arsenal down the right.

"I say stop focusing on the problems at the back. I'm among those who think the further away the ball is from your goal, the less chance you have of conceding a goal. And the more players you have who are capable of holding on to the ball... How many players are there in world football of that profile?

"If I were a coach I'd love to have dribblers in my team -- quick, technically good, capable of saying [to a defender], 'I'm going to humiliate you with two feints, two step-overs.' There aren't many dribblers. Arsenal only have one, that's Alexis Sanchez. They have a lot of guys who run quickly, but they run in a straight line." 

Petit reserved criticism for Ozil, who took the unusual step of apologising for the team's performance in Sunday's 4-0 humiliation at Liverpool.

The Germany international is in the final year of his Arsenal contract, and with the summer transfer window about to close, Petit urged Wenger to take decisive action.

"It's been a while since he played a good game, and even longer since he put a string of good performances together," Petit said of Ozil, who has not contributed a goal or assist in three Premier League outings this term. "He's still able to put in one good performance, but good performances over three, four, five weeks... I don't think we'll see Ozil at that level again.

Mesut Ozil has endured a stop-start campaign at Arsenal.
Mesut Ozil has come in for criticism from Emmanuel Petit.

"What disappoints me most is his attitude, his defeatist attitude on the pitch, his nonchalance that transmits to his teammates. Arsene keeps him on the pitch. If I were the coach, I'd say, 'Mesut, you want to leave? There's the door. Be sure to close it on the way out.' If I were Arsene Wenger, I'd say, 'Get out.'"

While Ozil's future in North London may be uncertain, Olivier Giroud is determined to make the best of his situation at the Emirates Stadium.

The France international, who turns 31 next month, was limited to a bit-part role for much of last season, and his three top-flight appearances this campaign have all been from the substitutes' bench.

However, after signing a contract extension earlier this year, the former Montpellier striker, who has scored once in the Premier League this season, told RMC he rejected approaches from Marseille and Lyon, among others, to fight for his place in Wenger's team.

"Over the summer I had offers. But something deep inside me told me I had to stay at Arsenal, that the story wasn't finished," he said. "Now, you can never say never, but having compared the offers to the possibility of staying at Arsenal, I preferred to stay.

"It's my choice, some people won't understand it. Reason dictates I should leave, but I still want to fight for my place. It's my DNA and that won't change."

Giroud also said that he and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal's €53 million summer purchase from Lyon, can work as a front pair.

"It's good because I get on well with him, on and off the pitch," he said. "I have tried to make sure he settles in as well as possible, and I think we also have a good understanding on the pitch and that we can play together.

"Competition from a young striker who has come to a big club, who has arrived where there is naturally fierce competition for places, I have always dealt with that. That's also what motivates my desire to always progress, improve. Today, at 30, I need that. All great clubs have strong competition for places."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.