Mesut Ozil was absent from the squad for Saturday’s game against West Ham, supposedly for tactical reasons. His exclusion from the squad seems to have raised quite a few eyebrows from the fans and pundits.
After almost a week of normal training it was expected that the German would be included in the playing XI. But to the dismay and shock of the fans, the German playmaker was excluded from the match day squad against West Ham.
Unai Emery justified the exclusion of the creative midfielder by claiming it to be solely for tactical reasons. He stated that the German playmaker was recovering from a knee injury.
From a strategical point of view, the Spaniard considering the remainder of season, did not feel worth risking the No.10 for a game against the Hammers. When enquired by the reporters about Ozil’s absence, he told reporters:
“I decided the players who are the best for this match. We win with him and lose with him. Not one player is for sale.”
“He’s working this week normally. Like I said we win with him and lose with him. Today the decision is to come with these players.”
Arsenal dearly missed the services of the German national as none of the other squad members could fill in his shoes. It was a disappointing day at office for the Gunners as they were outclassed by Manuel Pellegrini’s men for the entire match.
FULL-TIME West Ham 1-0 Arsenal
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 12, 2019
Playing with a back-line that has been successfully breached on multiple occasions in the recent times and without the cushion of Lucas Torreira further added to their woes. With Ramsey joining Torreira on the bench, it looked ominous before kickoff.
In the end, missed chances and a poor starting XI cost Arsenal the match as West Ham clinched onto a laborious win. Declan Rice’s latched onto a goal early in the second half via a superb assist from the ex-Arsenal star Samir Nasri. This would eventually proved to be the difference between the two sides.
This is not the first instance where the Spaniard has excluded the 30-year-old midfielder due to “tactical reasons”. It was obvious from the match against West Ham that how much he was missed.
The dimensions of creativity he brings to the Arsenal attack are incomparable. With no new signings on the cards for the Gunners and Aaron Ramsey agreeing to join Juventus in summer, it is expected of Unai Emery to put aside his personal differences with players for better results.
Mesut last started for Arsenal on boxing day in the frustrating draw against the Seagulls. Since then, he has not featured in the squad.
It is crystal clear how much he is being missed in the playing XI. In just a few weeks to the start of the season, Arsenal bottled a 11 point lead to Manchester United, who now sit a spot below owing due to an inferior goal difference after winning against Tottenham at Wembley.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 14, 2019
The top four looks like a distant dream with Arsenal’s current form. It is really intriguing to see that a team who went on a 22 match unbeaten streak are now equal on points with a team that has had their worst start to a Premier League season.
Unai is new to the league and has to understand how tough it can be in England. A weak back line, insufficient funds for signings, injuries to key players and absence of wingers have already affected the team and their performances.
A manager-player feud resulting in shambolic defeats is the last thing a fan would want. It is evident that all is not fine between the two. It is up to the Arsenal boss to see out the Gunners to a top 4 finish whilst securing the much awaited European success.
Ozil’s situation is a tricky one and one that must be addressed at once. Although both the player and manager have denied any breakdowns, the picture on the field speaks for itself.
It almost looks like another player is on his way out from London. With no new signings incoming, Unai must hold on to whatever talent he has at his disposal if he wishes to please the fans and improve his CV.