Arsenal were rocked when it was announced that club-record signing Mesut Ozil would be ruled out for up to three months with a knee injury.It would seem to be a hammer blow to the Gunners, on the face of it, but not everyone sees it that way.Indeed in a recent talkSPORT poll, 62 per cent of Arsenal fans believe that Ozil’s absence could be a positive for the club, in as much as it will give others a chance to flourish in place of the lackadaisical playmaker.Some have even gone further with their criticism of the £42.5m man, urging boss Arsene Wenger to move him on and recoup as much of their expenditure as possible.Reports emerged earlier this week that Bayern Munich had enquired over the availability of Ozil during the summer, but Wenger dismissed them outright, insisting that he wanted to persevere with his temperamental star, but should the Frenchman have a change of heart, there is evidence enough that Arsenal wouldn’t be short of suitors.As the comment below shows, based on his performance away to Chelsea, Ozil’s apparent inconsistency and languid style is testing the patience of sections of the club’s support. 2 But if Wenger decided to buckle to their demands and move him on, who could he replace him with?Julian Draxler – SchalkeOne such replacement could be Schalke hot-shot Julian Draxler. A younger, more dynamic player to Ozil, the young German has been firmly on Arsenal’s radar for the best part of two years, but little has yet to come of their interest. As the 21-year-old proved in Schalke’s recent 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League, he certainly has the ability to mix it at the highest level as he inspired the Bundesliga outfit to come from behind against their monied opponents.Not only a talented technician, Draxler’s versatility has resulted in him playing both wide and central positions with relative ease, something Ozil has struggled with.Schalke’s comparatively poor start to the season could play a hand in his future, with the youngster likely to move on should the Konigsblauen fail to finish in the top four.Marco Reus – Borussia DortmundShould Wenger seek a replacement for Ozil, then he could always head further down the road to Dortmund and try to convince Marco Reus that North London is the perfect destination for him.His talents as a footballer are well documented, and his importance to Dortmund cannot be understated and his absence with an ankle injury has hit them hard – Dortmund currently sit 13th in the Bundesliga, with just seven points.Another player equally comfortable in wide and central positions, Reus is a far more direct player than Ozil, and his approach is perhaps more comparable to Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez than his compatriot. Reports over a release clause in his contract being activated next summer could see Reus leave for as little as £20m – well within the Gunners’ budget.Yohan Cabaye – Paris Saint-GermainThe answer to Arsenal’s apparent problems may not be in a straight like-for-like replacement for Ozil, but in returning to a former target.The Gunners’ interest in Yohan Cabaye prior to his €25m switch to Paris Saint-Germain was reportedly serious, but given the Frenchman’s diminishing standing within the Ligue 1 giants squad a move could be on the cards.A known talent, Cabaye comes with Premier League experience and a style that suggests he would fit in well at the Emirates.His lack of football this season – Cabaye has played the full 90 minutes just once this campaign – has led to him being quoted as saying he is ‘not happy’ in the French capital. A move to Arsenal might just be the perfect remedy.Arsenal fans, is it time to consider moving on Mesut Ozil? Who would you replace him with? Comment below… Mesut Ozil has been criticised 2
In the title race, City have been forced to play catch-up since cutting Liverpool’s advantage at the top to four points by inflicting the Reds only league defeat of the season on January 3.This week City can apply pressure by cutting the gap to a solitary point as they travel to struggling Newcastle 24 hours before Liverpool host Leicester.AFP Sports picks out some of the main talking points ahead of the midweek games.Sala remembered“He’s going to be remembered as the best player we never had,” one Cardiff fan said when asked how to put Sala’s disappearance into words.Signed from Nantes for a club record fee, struggling Cardiff hoped his goals could keep them in the Premier League. Now they must somehow try to achieve survival on the field while dealing with tragedy off it.A minute’s silence will be held before all Premier League games this week in honour of Sala and the plane’s pilot David Ibbotson after the authorities called off their active search for the aircraft.Once the action gets under way, though, Arsenal have to be ruthless in the fight for Champions League qualification — victory would take them level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea, who visit Bournemouth on Wednesday.Cup capitulation heaps pressure on SpursMauricio Pochettino insists a top-four finish is more important than domestic cup glory © AFP / Glyn KIRK“In reality the most important thing is being consistently in the top four and playing in the Champions League,” insisted Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino after crashing out of two cup competitions in four days.Despite doing a remarkable job to turn Tottenham into top-four regulars, Pochettino is yet to win in a trophy in his five seasons at Spurs.And by downplaying the importance of silverware, the Argentine has piled the pressure on his injury-ravaged side to hold onto their place in the top four to ensure Champions League qualification for a fourth straight season.With Harry Kane and Dele Alli sidelined until March, a kind run of fixtures that sees Watford, Newcastle and Leicester visit Wembley before a trip to Burnley over the next month is just what Pochettino needs.Solskjaer on cloud nineUnstoppable: Ole Gunnar Solskaer has won all eight of his games in caretaker charge of Manchester United © IKIMAGES/AFP / Ian KINGTONUnited’s caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged he is “loving” his role and can do no wrong, with a run of eight straight wins putting the Red Devils right back in top-four contention and into the last 16 of the FA Cup.More of the same will be expected when Burnley visit Old Trafford on Tuesday fresh from being thrashed 5-0 on the other side of Manchester by City in the FA Cup at the weekend.United’s 3-1 win in the Cup at Arsenal on Friday was just as impressive and leaves Solskjaer spoiled for choice.Alexis Sanchez scored and Romelu Lukaku provided two assists to make their case for a more regular start, but Solskjaer is expected to keep faith with in-form Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who came off the bench to score at the Emirates.Can Higuain hit the ground running?Chelsea’s chances of Champions League qualification will depend heavily on Gonzalo Higuain’s form © AFP / Glyn KIRKChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri finally has the striker he wanted in Gonzalo Higuain, and must now hope the Argentine’s firepower keeps his side in the top four.Higuain failed to find the net in Sunday’s 3-0 Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday to get up to speed and will likely make his Premier League debut away to Bournemouth on Wednesday.A 2-1 win over Spurs to reach the League Cup final last week suggests Sarri’s side are a different prospect when Eden Hazard is restored to his favoured position on the left of a front three.Higuain’s presence should allow the Belgian to shine. The on-loan Juventus striker comes with a prolific record in club football.Fixtures (kick-offs 1945 GMT unless stated)TuesdayArsenal v Cardiff, Fulham v Brighton, Huddersfield v Everton, Wolves v West Ham, Manchester United v Burnley (2000), Newcastle v Manchester City (2000)WednesdayBournemouth v Chelsea, Southampton v Crystal Palace, Liverpool v Leicester (2000), Tottenham v Watford (2000)0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A minute’s silence in honour of Emiliano Sala will be held at all Premier League matches this midweek © AFP / GEOFF CADDICKLONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 28 – Liverpool and Manchester City will resume their fight for Premier League supremacy in a midweek round of fixtures clouded by the suspected death of Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala.The Bluebirds are in action for the first time since the plane carrying the Argentine disappeared over the Channel Islands a week ago. They visit Arsenal in what could have been Sala’s debut for the club.