Newcastle United play fourth placed Arsenal on Monday night, and one player they will have to hope is not on the pitch is Mesut Ozil.

Ozil has been a hot topic of conversation for Arsenal fans this season, as the German has struggled to impress Unai Emery.

But it seems like questions over Ozil’s form and work rate have dogged him for several years.

The playmaker often goes through spells where he’s creating and scoring very little, increasing criticism towards him.

So how is it that in only four games against Newcastle, Ozil has been a part of four goals?

It seems despite his moments of indifference, he often saves his best for the Toon.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ozil record vs Newcastle

Due to Ozil’s wavering form and injury issues, he’s only played Newcastle four times.

But in those four matches, he’s scored three goals and made one assist.

He even scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 home win for Arsenal last season.

But Ozil was also a thorn in the Toon’s side this season in a 2-1 loss to The Gunners.

His second half goal to make it 2-0 proved crucial in securing an away win on Tyneside, as Ciaran Clark headed in a late consolation.

What’s worrying for Newcastle though, is all of these performances seem to come out of nowhere, regardless of current form.

(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

His goal against the Toon this season came shortly after Arsenal had lost their two opening games, leading to Ozil being dropped for the third.

He hadn’t scored or assisted for four games before playing Newcastle, but it didn’t seem to matter.

A better example is from 2014, in which the German managed just two goals and three assists that calendar year.

Yet in April of 2014, he was the star man in a match against Newcastle, bagging a goal and assist in a 3-0 win.

40% of his goal contributions that year came against the Toon.

But given his recent form, will he even play?

Benitez must prepare for Ozil

Despite a patchy season, Ozil is beginning to win round his manager, which is bad news for Benitez.

The German has managed to get himself minutes in Arsenal’s last four PL matches, both scoring and assisting a goal in that time.

However Ozil still doesn’t fit into Emery’s hard-press style, and so Newcastle midfielders must try and expose him.

Because just as Ozil can be a pain for Newcastle, he can be a weakness for Arsenal.

Benitez will need to make sure Isaac Hayden in particular shows his ex-club just what they’ve been missing.

Under Benitez, Newcastle got their first win over Arsenal in eight years, and theres hope he can mastermind another great victory on Monday.

(Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

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