Unai Emery says others “deserved” a place in Arsenal’s team over Mesut Ozil after his young side beat Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday.
Ozil, the highest-paid player in the history of the club, was again left out of the matchday squad as Gabriel Martinelli scored twice in a 4-0 Group F victory.
Emery made 10 alterations from the side that drew at Manchester United on Monday night with Ozil, who has made just one Premier League appearance this season, not making the matchday squad on either occasion.
When asked about Ozil’s omission, Emery said: “I am thinking every time to decide the best players for each match and the best players in the squad to play and to help us.
Mesut Ozil’s appearances in the Premier League since 2015
“When I decided he shouldn’t be in the squad it’s because I think other players deserved it more.
“He needs to continue working. Tomorrow we have training with the players who didn’t play, and on Sunday we have another match, and we are going to decide the same.
“Our target is to win on Sunday against Bournemouth, and we want to carry on our same way in each match.”
On a positive night for the Gunners, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin – who captained the side – all came through 90 minutes as they continued their comebacks from injury.
Martinelli, who scored two goals on his full debut in the Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest last week, followed it up with another double here and Emery has been impressed by his start to life in England.
“I saw him in pre-season and he was working and in each training showing us his hunger,” added Emery.
“In pre-season he was perfect all the time with us in training, and I spoke to him to be calm because when he arrived with an opportunity to play like tonight, if he continues with this hunger then I think he will do well. Tonight confirmed
“The first thing in his mind is to help us and receive some minutes with us in the team. Tonight I think his performance and attitude was amazing.”
Analysis: How the mighty have fallen
Sky Sports’ Oliver Yew:
Brought to Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid amid quite a fanfare back in 2013, Ozil was the marquee signing the Gunners had been craving. He was a key player at Real Madrid, a Germany international and a World Cup winner no less, and now he was at Arsenal.
He became the fulcrum of the Gunners’ attack under Arsene Wenger, providing assist after assist for his team-mates. He helped the club win back-to-back FA Cups in his first two seasons in north London and was named Arsenal player of the season after eight goals and 20 assists in all competitions in his third.
Another FA Cup and a new record-breaking deal worth a reported £350,000 a week followed as he became the club’s highest-ever player. The arrival of Unai Emery as head coach even saw him named as one of five captains at Arsenal, but the performances didn’t follow. His form dipped as he was in, and then out of Emery’s side all last season.
Mesut Ozil’s goal involvement in the Premier League since 2015
Last summer, his future has continually been questioned at the club but with no takers Ozil was ready to start over again with the Gunners. However, he missed the opening game of the Premier League season away to Newcastle over security concerns and since then, he has made just one Premier League appearance in Arsenal’s opening seven games.
With what we’ve seen so far from Emery this season, it was really no surprise to see him leave Ozil out of Arsenal’s Premier League clash at Manchester United, but a sign of how far the German has fallen at the club came on Thursday.
With everyone expecting to see the German, who played 71 minutes of Arsenal’s 5-0 win against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, named in the starting line-up for the Europa League clash with Standard Liege, he failed to make the matchday squad as Emery turned to the club’s young players.