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Viv Anderson Exclusive: Arsenal & Emery set by Christmas, but Ozil?

Former Arsenal defender Viv Anderson has told Tribalfootball that supporters must wait "until Christmas time" for Unai Emery's team to play at their maximum potential.

Emery has divided opinion over his first four games in charge. Arsenal have won twice out of four matches, with their two losses coming against Manchester City and Chelsea.

There have been signs of improvement under the Spaniard as he attempts to implement his own philosophy following the end of Arsene Wenger's twenty-two year tenure.

The burgeoning partnership between strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been a particular cause of excitement for fans.

But it is down the other end of the pitch where Arsenal have struggled, having conceded eight goals in total which is good for equal third worst in the league.

Despite their indifferent start, Anderson has been "encouraged" by what he has seen from the three-time Europa League winner.

"It's a difficult transition because you've got to get it over to the players the way you want to play and it doesn't happen overnight," Anderson, who won the 1987 League Cup with Arsenal, told Tribalfootball in an exclusive interview.

"It will take a while. I don't think you'll see the best of Emery until Christmas time. There will be pitfalls along the way because it doesn't happen instantly.

"You've got to work at it and it takes a lot of work on the training ground. I'm encouraged."

Emery has already experienced conflict with some of his players, namely 2014 World Cup winner Mesut Ozil.

The German, who signed a contract worth £350,000-per-week in February, was said to be furious after being dropped to the substitutes bench against the Hammers.

Emery has denied that a rift exists between himself and Ozil, stating on Thursday: "I have a very good relationship with Mesut and professionally I push him for improvements to give us the best in his qualities and performances."

Nonetheless, Anderson thinks the Spaniard should stick by his principles despite the "inevitable" resistance from players.

He continued: "There's been talk about Ozil being out of team with a big bust up with the manager.

"I think that's going to happen. Inevitably when you come in with new ideas and a new way of doing things when your used to doing something in a certain way for 20 odd years, it's always difficult to change.

"He has got to stamp his authority on the football club and I think they're moving in the right direction."

Ozil, signed from Real Madrid in 2014, returned to the starting line-up in the win over Cardiff City the week prior to the international break.

That hasn't stopped reports in recent days linking the 29-year-old with Fenerbahce and Manchester United. And Anderson is adamant the club should have no qualms about selling Ozil if Emery feels that he is expendable.

"You look at his stats and he's the highest assist player in the Premier League so clearly he's got his qualities.

"People look at the other side [and say he's] not so good at tracking back, not so good at this, not so good at the other. But listen nobody is bigger than any football club, whether it be Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Paul Pogba or Ozil.

"I think the football club always evolves and if he (Emery) wants Mesut Ozil to leave then he leaves.

"And somebody comes to the forefront and become a superstar at that football club because they have that many people there with that many good players so its an opportunity for other people. I think the football club will evolve and sort itself out one way or the other."

Viv Anderson MBE was speaking to Tribalfootball to promote the partnership between 'Playonpro' and 'REDSTRIKE'.

Click here to find out more information on Playonpro.

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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