Emery raises questions over Ozil’s ability in big games


Mesut Ozil failed to get on the pitch in the 2-1 win over Bournemouth. The Arsenal midfielder was named on the bench but manager Unai Emery opted for different personnel on the south coast.

Arsenal dug out a hard fought victory in a combative performance, Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka battling with Bournemouth duo Dan Gosling and Jefferson Lerma for control of the game from the middle of the park.

The German has endured a tumultuous time during his Arsenal career, with his passion and drive when on the pitch put into question on several occasions. Ozil arrived at the club from Real Madrid as a luxury playmaker, someone who can create and provide for those around him, but in the English leagues, more is expected, there is a work ethic that is demanded from fans, something that some feel Ozil lacks.

Instead, Emery opted for Aaron Ramsey, Matteo Guendouzi and Eddie Nketiah as his substitutions in this tie. When questioned by the media in his post match press conference about Ozil being benched, Emery alluded to the fact he didn’t think the this game in particular was right for the midfielder to be part of;

“We thought how we can be better in matches like today, matches in terms of physically and intensity.”

In fact, Ozil did not even take to the field to warm up during the second half, an indication that Emery made a decision early on if the German would be involved in the game at all.

Emery went on to give a statement about the blend of the eleven that take to the pitch, putting forward that he may not yet know his best XI or starting formation, or that he is prepared to leave out star names for the good of the team.

“it is an opportunity to find our best moment, our best performance, as a squad”

It is true that a midfield duo of Torreira and Xhaka provided a base for the attacking players of Arsenal to flourish, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both provided guile and creativity whilst covering the ground when on defensive duties. The team Emery put out was combative enough to deal with the Bournemouth attack, and he felt Ozil would be detrimental to the side in that case.

Emery was questioned whether Ozil had the mentality to deal with these situations in the big games, that he could not provide the work Emery required of him on the pitch; in response, Emery was on the err of caution about specifying Ozil himself, but explained his desire for a side that could compete on all aspects of the game.

“We need it be competitive, we need to be organised and have enough quality to better our performance”

The decision to drop Ozil for this match proved to be the correct one from the new Arsenal manager, who has not been afraid to substitute him during games if the performance levels are not to the standard required. Iwobi proved to be the creative spark that forged the winning goal for the Gunners and put behind them three Premier League draws and return to winning ways. Arsenal have now equalled the number of away wins they achieved all of last season, winning four of their six on the road this season.

Arsenal travel to Vorjskla in the Europa League this weekend, but he is yet to decide if Ozil will be involved with the squad for that game and intends to make a decision on that on Tuesday. Next for Arsenal in the league is the North London derby against Tottenham, and Emery will want to field a team as competitive and as organised as possible if they are to continue their unbeaten streak against a Spurs side who come off the back of an immense win against Chelsea.


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