I chose the players who deserved to play – Emery defends Özil omission
Unai Emery suggested that Mesut Ozil earned no place in Arsenal's team when he ruled out Saturday's Premier League-defeat at West Ham.
The best-paid player of the Gunners was fully trained the last week after a knee problem, but was left completely outside the traveling party of Emery when the first senior goal of Declan Rice sealed a 1-0 victory for West Ham at the London Stadium.
Ozil has missed a number of races this season, with several reasons for his absence. A 2-1 victory in Bournemouth in November was the only time Emery admitted that the former German international was omitted for tactical reasons.
There was no place in the Arsenal squadron for Mesut Ozil (Adam Davy / PA).
The head coach of Arsenal got stuck in the side that defeated Fulham in their last Premier League outing, but the visitors were poor because for the first time since the opening weekend of the campaign they could not find the back of the net in a league game.
But when he was persuaded why he chose to leave Ozil home for the short trip to East London, Emery claimed all those players who deserved the trip to be there.
"I have chosen the idea of the players who 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) that we can not win or lose.
"Today, the players here were the players who deserved to participate in this competition, we could have won or lost.
"We continue to work with every player because they are all important, but today was the decision to come with these players."
While Ozil stood out because of his absence, West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini chose to select Marko Arnautovic, despite the fact that the forward was apparently enthusiastic about moving to China in January.
The brother and agent of the 29-year-old claimed earlier in the week that Arnautovic wants to leave for the Chinese Super League and begged the club not to stand in his way.
Arnautovic was shot in the West Ham side and got a positive reaction from the home fans, although he waved to every corner of the stadium when he was replaced by Andy Carroll in the second half.
"We will see what will happen in the coming days and I hope he will make the best decision," said Pellegrini when asked if the former Stoke man waved goodbye.
Marko Arnautovic greets the crowd as he is replaced by Arsenal (Yui Mok / PA).
"I have been in this position a lot in my 30 years, but I am calm with nothing 100% certain (with regard to the future of Arnautovic)."
Although Ozil and Arnautovic were speaking points, the race winner Rice was praised by Pellegrini as a hymn.
The 19-year-old celebrates his birthday on Monday and has recently signed a new contract with West Ham.
He still has to decide whether he wants to represent England or the Republic of Ireland on an international level, but Pellegrini knows for sure that whatever country he chooses to play for will benefit.
"I'm sure Declan will be a top player," he added.
"He improves in every game he plays, he is now more used to giving us a good preparation.
"I am sure we will soon see a top player and we will not only see for West Ham, but also for the national team where he decides to play."
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