Arsenal boss Unai Emery was always going to be asked about Mesut Ozil’s omission from Arsenal’s matchday squad for Saturday’s game at West Ham United. The German star was among a number of players who returned to full training this week for the Gunners and while the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal made the team, Emery felt no need for Ozil.
That move would backfire on Emery as Arsenal failed to show any creative spark on their way to losing 1-0 at the London Stadium and put their chances of finishing in the top four in danger. Afterwards, the Gunners boss was inevitably asked about Ozil’s absence from the team on Saturday. “We decided that the players here were the best for this match. We’ve won with him, we’ve lost with him. No one player makes the difference between winning and losing the game.”
Emery added: “We had enough players to win today and impose our gameplan, and impose our tactical quality against them. We also respect them and they have good players. With their supporters here, they feel stronger. Maybe for the bench, some attacking players could have helped. But I think we had enough with these players.
“Yes, but I can say he’s working with us normally this week. Like I said to you, we’ve won and lost with him. Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could have won or lost, like we can with him. We continue working with every player because they are all important, but today the decision was to come with these players.”
Did Emery make the right call to leave Ozil out of the squad altogether, considering Arsenal play Chelsea and Manchester United in their next two matches?