Arsene Wenger Backs Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Flourish for Arsenal

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2018

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at Amex Stadium on March 4, 2018 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has insisted that Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan can play together despite them both preferring to operate in the No. 10 role.

Speaking ahead of a potentially season-defining clash with AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, the Arsenal manager said there is precedent for similar types of players thriving together in the same team, per Jake Polden in the Mirror:

"It is of course possible. It depends on what you call a number 10. Football is full of famous stories of number 10s who have played together. History has proven that the best players can."

Mkhitaryan, 29, joined Arsenal in January from Manchester United as part of the deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move in the other direction.

SWANSEA, WALES - JANUARY 30:  Arsenal Head Coach / Manager Arsene Wenger gives instructions to Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal as he prepares to come on as a substitute during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Arsenal at Liberty Stadium on J
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

His first start for the Gunners was very promising, as he provided three assists in a 5-1 drubbing of Everton.

However, since that convincing victory over the Toffees, the Armenian has played five times for Arsenal, and the north London outfit have lost all but one.

When playing in the same team, German Ozil has invariably taken up the No. 10 role and Mkhitaryan has played on the right in a 4-2-3-1 system.

Despite Wenger's claims, though, it is a partnership that does not yet seem to be working despite the pair's immense creative talent.

Thursday's last-16 first leg against Milan at the San Siro would be a perfect time for Ozil and Mkhitaryan to click.

The Gunners are currently at possibly their lowest ebb in Wenger's career as manager.

A run of four defeats has seen them humiliated in the Carabao Cup final by Manchester City and effectively killed any chance of Arsenal finishing in the top four of the Premier League this season.

A fifth defeat in a row at the hands of Milan would put Arsenal in danger of being knocked out of the Europa League, their final chance of silverware this season and the only remaining realistic route back into the UEFA Champions League.

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