'A demanding match physically' - Emery explains why he dropped Ozil for Bournemouth clash

The ex-Germany international was an unused substitute as Arsenal extended their unbeaten run by winning at Bournemouth.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery says Mesut Ozil's omission from the team which beat Bournemouth was due to the "physical demands" of facing Eddie Howe's men.

The Gunners extended their unbeaten run to 17 games with a 2-1 win at the Vitality Stadium over the Cherries, who have now lost their last three games in a row.

Jefferson Lerma's spectacular own goal put the visitors ahead before Josh King equalised with a fabulous strike in first-half stoppage time.

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang toe-poked home the winner mid-way through the second period to secure the victory, but at the end of the game attention turned to those omitted from Emery's side.

Alexandre Lacazette missed out with a groin problem, and though Ozil was named on the bench he was not called upon during the 90 minutes.

And when asked about his absence, Emery said: "We thought about how we can be better in the match today, with a very demanding match physically with their intensity against us and we decided.

"But every player is important. Also today we tried with three centre-backs. It’s another opportunity to improve and find our best performance.

On not using Ozil as a substitute as Arsenal chased victory, the Spaniard added: "It depends on how the match is coming and how the result is coming during the 90 minutes. I decided for another option."

Emery chose to deploy a back-three for the first time in the Premier League, with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac used as wing-backs in a 3-4-3 formation.

Matteo Guendouzi, Aaron Ramsey and Eddie Nketiah were all given a run-out off the bench, with Ozil forced into a watching brief on the south coast.

With Arsenal facing Vorskla in the Europa League in mid-week, it remains to be seen whether Ozil can reclaim his place for the north London derby against Tottenham next weekend.

Article continues below

Illness and injury had been behind Ozil's only other absences in the Premier League this season, meaning his omission against Bournemouth was the first time Emery has overlooked him on tactical grounds.

Ozil signed a new contract until 2021 last May, a deal worth a reported £350,000-a-week, but his role under Emery has been anything other than secure.

Reports earlier in the campaign had suggested the pair had fallen out, and though Emery dismissed such suggestions this latest development will only work to increase the scrutiny over their relationship.

Next article:
Arsenal should snub James and make Suarez No.1 January target, says Lauren
Next article:
Ramsey backed to follow Bale's lead as Giggs welcomes impending move to 'top-class' Juventus
Next article:
Will Declan Rice play for England or Ireland? West Ham star's international eligibility explained
Next article:
Cardiff refused transfer window extension following Sala plane disappearance
Next article:
Van Bronckhorst to leave Feyenoord at end of season