Emery says Ozil did not de­serve place de­spite Ham­mer blow

The Herald on Sunday - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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