Emery says Ozil did not deserve place despite Hammer blow
UNAI EMERY suggested Mesut Ozil did not deserve a place in Arsenal’s squad as he sat out yesterday’s Premier League defeat at West Ham.
The Gunners’ highest-paid player has returned to full training over the last week following a knee problem, but was left out of Emery’s travelling party completely as Declan Rice’s first senior goal sealed a 1-0 victory for West Ham at the London Stadium.
Ozil has missed a number of games this season, with differing reasons given for his absence. A 2-1 win at Bournemouth in November was the only time Emery conceded the former Germany international was left out for tactical reasons.
The Arsenal head coach stuck with the side which beat Fulham in their last Premier League outing, but the visitors were poor as they failed to find the back of the net in a league game for the first time since the opening weekend of the campaign.
But when pushed on why he opted to leave Ozil at home for the short trip to east London, Emery claimed all of those players who did make the trip deserved to be there.
“I decided the idea of the players that I think are the best for this match,” he said.
“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.
“We continue working with every player because they are all important, but today the decision was to come with these players.”
While Ozil was conspicuous by his absence, West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini opted to select Marko Arnautovic, despite the forward appearing to be keen on a January move to China.
The 29- year- old’s brother and agent claimed earlier in the week that Arnautovic wants to leave for the Chinese Super League and implored the club not to stand in his way.
Arnautovic was included in West Ham’s side and was given a positive response by the home fans, although he waved to all corners of the stadium as he was substituted for Andy Carroll in the second half.
“We will see what happens in the next few days and I hope he will take the best decision,” Pellegrini said when asked if the former Stoke man had been waving goodbye. “I have been in this position a lot of times in my 30 years, but I’m calm with nothing 100 per cent sure [regarding Arnautovic’s future].”
Meanwhile, Willian dismissed the prospect of a January move from Chelsea after his strike earned a 2- 1 win over Newcastle.
The Brazil playmaker, who joined from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013, was linked with a £ 50 million switch to Barcelona last week.
Blues head coach Maurizio Sarri on Friday insisted it was “impossible” to lose Willian. And the 30- year- old showed his value to Chelsea by scoring the goal which has given the Blues a six- point cushion over fifth- placed Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification.
“My future is at Chelsea,” Willian said. Sarri afterwards repeated his view on Willian, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, but Chelsea could be busy in the winter transfer window, nonetheless.
Cesc Fabregas completed his move to Monaco on Friday and Sarri wants a replacement but is uncertain if, or when, a new recruit will arrive.
Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella and Leandro Paredes of Zenit St Petersburg have been linked with moves to Chelsea.
Sarri’s need was emphasised against Newcastle as Jorginho struggled to dictate play.
The Italian said: “Today Jorginho was in trouble and on the bench there wasn’t a player for that position. I need an option for Jorginho.”
Chelsea took the lead after nine minutes, through Pedro, but Newcastle responded and deservedly equalised five minutes before half time through Ciaran Clark.