Before a ball had even been kicked at the London Stadium yesterday lunchtime, Arsenal fans were already voicing their displeasure on social media regarding Unai Emery’s team selection. Namely, the decision to leave Mesut Ozil out of the 18 man match day squad altogether.
The German playmaker’s inventiveness was sorely missed as the Gunners slumped to a timid 1-0 defeat against West Ham and fans could not hide their frustration with the manager over his team selection.
Ian Wright is finding it hard to get his head around Mesut Ozil’s situation at Arsenal. pic.twitter.com/QLpgVCzCgP
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 13, 2019
— Stylos (@MJZerone34) January 13, 2019
Took Ozil off a Chelsea we were drawing we lost.
Took Ozil off at Palace we were winning we drew.
Took Ozil off at Brighton we were drawing we drew.
Left Ozil out for tactical reasons at Southampton and West Ham we lost.
Seems to be working Unai.
— Woz ⚽️ (@wozthegooner) January 12, 2019
While it could be argued that Emery sticking with the same team that beat Fulham 4-1 in their last Premier League game was a sensible enough decision, West Ham away was always going to be a trickier prospect and it showed, with the Gunners failing to score for the first time since the opening game of the season.
When pressed about his team selection after the match and Ozil’s absence, Emery explained that the players he chose to take on the Hammers deserved to be in the squad, which suggests that he didn’t believe Ozil warranted a place in the 18.
“I decided the idea of the players that I think are the best for this match.
“We win with him, we lose with him. I think it is not one player [which means] we can’t win or lose.
“Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could’ve won or lost.”
What on earth is going on between Ozil and Emery at Arsenal? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/5I8LFexGwY
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 12, 2019
So did Ozil not deserve to even be on the bench? Given the lack of creativity displayed throughout the 90 minutes there are plenty of arguments to be had in the German’s favour.
Does the former Real Madrid man’s absence signify that he is closer to the Emirates exit door than ever, right now?
(h/t Sky Sports)