Mesut Ozil left out of Sp*rs game for ‘tactical reasons’


The fact that Mesut Ozil isn’t in tonight’s squad for the Carabao Cup tie with Sp*rs this evening raised eyebrows, particularly when it was revealed that the German wasn’t sidelined through injury.

The official explanation from the club as to his omission from the squad is that it was a tactical decision by Unai Emery.

Considering the 30 year old has barely played in the last month, he would have been relatively fresh for this game, but the boss has decided not to include him in the 18 with youngsters Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah named among the substitutes.

With Emery previously having dropped Ozil for a game against the Premier League’s least physical team because he felt it would be too physical for him, and now not picking him for a North London derby it raises real questions about his future at the club.

Key men like Lucas Torreira, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka are all playing tonight after much more hectic schedules, and you don’t need to read between the lines to realise there’s something wrong with this situation.

No doubt we’ll hear plenty more about this post-game and in the days to come.

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Viva la Prof

I don’t like it at all

Glen Helders left foot

He’s gone

David C

but who would actually take that salary? Man U maybe?


I was thinking he might have gone there if Zidane had taken over at man u given that ozil is always going on about how he was his favourite player growing up. I’m not sure utd fans would want another overpaid superstar though


Teams in China, maybe


We will have to sell him cheap for someone to take them wages on in my opinion!! Ramsey not getting a deal and he doesn’t rate Ozil then whts the plan ?


Sadly I think that is true. We all wanted Mesut to be amazing and at times he was. But too often he just doesn’t do enough. If you are on £350K a week and you can’t even make the bench..well it’s curtains isn’t it?

Bob Dobbery

To be honest, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the new manager and injured, absent, or whatever we aren’t getting our moneys worth for Ozil. Giving him a new contract was an absolutely stupid bit of mismanagement by the board. I hope now Gazidis is gone we avoid these sorts of issues in future.


All we’ll hear is speculation. Ozil has been professionally silent about the situation as far as I can tell.


Yeah Much better than the open warfare in Manchester all season well until the other day.

Much classier but still not a good situation for the club to be in.

SB Still

He has been left out for the 2nd time by Emery due to tactical reasons, he is the star player – there is no speculation about either of that.

The speculation bit is what will happen next.


That’s why I said we’ll only hear speculation


Tactics being “look, the transfer window opens in two weeks”.


Burnley at home is a game we need him for…. I’m clutching at straws here


Agree with ya, last couple of games we were seriously lacking some creativity! What scares me after Sundays loss is Burnley absolutely bombarding our penalty box with crosses.

Swiss Arsenal Fan

Emerys decision. He doesn’t want him or wants to work with him anymore.


We were, but I think that had more to do with Xhaka having to drop in to the backline due to injuries. Hopefully both Mustafi and Sokratis are fit for Burnley and we can either play a back 4 with monreal and push Xhaka back in to midfield or Kolasinac is fit to play wingback again.


yes, he is rubbish


Totally fine with this. Sell him in January to Bayern, play AMN in the midfield, and let’s reinvest in a central defender.


I’ll be happy if we actually get that 25Mn by Inter for him as reported in some papers..

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

I will be glad if we buy Ousmane Dembele with the money.

That boy is a special talent, sadly he knows it.
Can have issues with his discipline.


You mean he’s a nutter.


Ozil is finished at Arsenal, not sure who’ll take him off us? But the first sniff of a bid? And he’ll be pushed


He’s one of our most creative players.
Has been for a while.
Him being lazy etc is untrue as stats say otherwise.
Unless he had a severe falling out with Emery it doesn’t make sense.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

he runs a lot in games, I still find his defending lazy.

He doesn’t want to get “stuck in” on defense. How may times have we seen someone just dribble by him without any intervention or tackling on his part? Swear I think everyone in the league knows this, as they just dribble by him without any fear.

This not playing for various reasons, has come to a head with this decision.

Parlour’s Pay Packer

How many times do you see people criticise a centre back for his lack of creative flair?


I see people criticise CBs all the time in the modern game for not being good enough on the ball, especially at the top teams who like to play out from the back. Fuck me we’re seeing keepers get criticised for it too nowadays. If Arsenal are to improve as a pressing team (which is clearly something that Emery wants), then either Ozil has to get better at it, or he simply can’t function in this team. Pressing tactics require total team commitment, everyone has to be coordinated and together otherwise it doesn’t work.


Ozil has become a weird topic with arsenal fans. If you criticise him on social media you get absolutely hammered. I’ve never understood the vitriol he gets but I also don’t understand the people who act as though if you criticise him you just don’t “understand” him as a player, he has flaws like every player and maybe they’re flaws that are hard to mask with the way the game has gone


Ozil runs a lot but he doesn’t really press and that weird “Backing in to the player like you’re going to head it but then sort of shrinking away” thing has become a bit of a trademark with Ozil. He’s a great creative talent but I just don’t think there’s a place for a number 10 like Ozil in the modern game. Players come and go, I just hope those at the top back the manager and we get in the players we need. Look at the difference Torreira has made, why not sign a relative player like him but… Read more »

Michael Hug

That’s a lot of money spent on a player being used only half the time if that. Free up the cash, I love Özil but it’s not a smart investment and we’re not getting our money’s worth


I don’t really want him to leave, but after this … he has to go. We can’t have a player on £350’000 per week who is frequently left out for tactical reasons. Even if he does seem like a stand up guy!

Swiss Arsenal Fan

Absolutely I think he should live. Not only because of the weekly wages. After Leceister one bad match and than the back spasm. After this period no chances anymore for him in Emery’s squad. He is 30 and if he wants he continues till 34. Let him play or let him go. I highly doubt tactical decisions….bullshit


Me too….I don’t want him to die!

Dennis Elbow

Me too. Mezut should live.


Long live Mesut!


Sometimes coaches stamp their authority onto a team by making a big tactical or personnel decision. Looks like Emery is making a statement in how he’s treating Ozil. Either you’re onboard the Emery train or you’re really not.

I love Mesut, but I also think that I haven’t really seen a 350k Ozil at Arsenal so maybe the coach is right to ask for more.

Pat Rice and Beans

Nailed it, mate




Depends how you set up with Mesut and what you expect him to do. He used to assist all the time in a team worse than this. If Emery can’t manage to use Mesut it reflects more on the manager than the player as far as I’m concerned.

Mesut O'Neill

Most of the time don’t even see a £350 player.


Well, he’ll have to work harder for it with this new boss.
It’s a test for his character.

Thierry Bergkamp

Considering his dummy to a Southampton player started the counter attack for the 3rd goal, maybe there was some kind of bust up after and this is the result.
I’m hoping he’s being kept fresh for Sunday, but that’s clutching at straws, considering Torreira, Aubameyang and Xhaka are playing


Please, let’s not start with that 3rd goal again. This is certainly a messed up situation with Ozil and there’s something going on for sure now. But picking out 1 turnover (out of so many by the squad I can’t even count) and then Soton breezing by 5 of our players on their way to the goal is a bit unfair on Ozil. That was a team fuckup and we gave the ball away cheaply all match. We lost because we failed miserably on all their crosses – closing them down, marking, and defending them in the air.

Thierry Bergkamp

Whatever is going on, I trust Unai’s judgement.


As do I. This is dismaying and strange. I have always respected Ozil so I’m not passing judgment until it comes to light, but this doesn’t seem to be good.


I don’t. I thought he was a breath of fresh air when he arrived, but doubts are starting to creep in, the last two games have been poor selections and boring tactics. He seems to have split the team into those who play and those he doesn’t like, and the tactics are starting to look like run around more. Mo Elneny may not be a world beater but he’s always willing, loves the team and could have been useful at CB while we have a defensive crisis, but it looks like he’s being frozen out, Laca will never start even… Read more »


Lacazette isn’t starting because welbeck got injured and our only cover is Nketiah who is extremely raw. What choice has he really had with selection? We’ve had an injury crisis. Jesus Christ, the guy makes one controversial selection when he’s not had any time to build his own team and the knives are already out. We’ve just gone on a 22 game unbeaten run and beat spurs 4-2 only a couple of weeks ago (with Ozil not in the side btw). Amazing to me that anybody could be turning on emery at this point when we cried for a new… Read more »


Everybody knows Xhaka isn’t experienced at or suited for CB, with recovery speed run tracking not his best qualities, and also that he is half of our best midfield 2. Everybody, that is, except the head coach. Questions are being asked!


*and run tracking


Yes, I’m sure emery thinks Xhaka has all the qualities to be a top level centre back… we had no other real option and given Xhaka stayed back there when Koscielny came on he’s obviously concerned about Koscielny’s match readiness but there really are no options. If you think emery played Xhaka at centre back because he thinks he’s an option there and not because we’re threadbare then the “questions being asked” deserve stupid answers.


Rambo and Ozil being forced out. Emery doesn’t believe in a number 8 let alone a number 10. I guess his tactical decision here will be judged by the result.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

Rambo probably had more to do with the contract situation, maybe ozil is being forced out because of his attitude. A lot of rumours, but who knows.
My point is that maybe Emery would have used his number 8 or 10 if he didn’t have these issues with these players.


The Ramsey thing doesn’t sound like it was emery’s decision to be honest, it sounded like it came from higher up. Emery even said he doesn’t handle the contracts and it was between Ramsey and the club and, as we’ve seen, he’s played Ramsey when needed. He’s taken ownership of the decision to drop Ozil so, to my mind, they aren’t remotely similar situations


Why didn’t they say that he has a back spasm again or that he is ill? This is making the fact that Emery doesn’t want him official. Don’t see a reason for that. Very sad.


I think they realise the back injury reason has worn itself out


Ozil just simply isnt a high pressing style player. Unai did the right thing by trying him in different positions to see if he could work in Unai’s oversall identity, but he doesn’t produce consistently enough to warrant either a mega contract or building the team around him.

Perhaps Raul Sanhelli is considering getting rid of Ozil and signing up Ramsey and Pavon.


Unai has given Ozil opportunities to stake a claim in the team. Reputations have no real force in this regime anymore, just handled differently.


I guess he’s not showing it in training because he couldn’t really show that he’s capable of delivering a performance as he did against Leicester, simply because he hasn’t been on the field.
It’s worrying really.


Im a big fan of Emery but I would prefer he at least try and work Ozil in to his system rather than this (also the manner is a bit humiliating unless there was a row behind the scenes). He is an amazing player, I think the manager’s job is to get the best out of him.

Another Sam

I’m not a big fan of Emery. He showed a lack of understanding of creative players at PSG and at Sevilla, he played with hardworking also-rans for the most part. His treatment of Ozil doesn’t bode well for the team having any creativity – effectively sidelining Ozil and Ramsey when there are zero other creative options at the club. We’ve gone from a manager who disliked defensive midfielders (after Vieira, Petit etc I always wondered why?!) to one who only values hardworking, run around midfielders. We have nobody in the side who can really thread a pass. Rubbish to watch.… Read more »


Get Chaka back I. The midfield, he is a creative passer and link player.


Bet you weren’t complaining at 4-2 and Ozil didn’t start that game either.


Really? He only likes hardworking runaround mids? Because the likes of David Silva and Ever Banega did alright under him at Valencia and Sevilla. What absolute hogwash.


I would like to give the manager the benefit of the doubt but I want to watch a team that has Bergkamps, Ozils, Cazorlas rather than Iwobis.

Paul Roberts

Emery clearly doesn’t want him so he is making sure he doesn’t get injured until the January “have him cheap to make up for the wages” sale. “Tactics” are not always confined to the pitch. 😉


Pre match Emery was asked several times and every time repeated “tactical reasons” which even allowing for his limited English isn’t as expansive as he usually is.
The final “tactical reasons” was followed by an interesting look that clearly meant don’t ask me again

Swiss Arsenal Fan

First makes him Captain to trigger his will….restart his motivation leading the team… Then drops him frequently after the Leceister game and against the wolves, where everyone was just bad…not just him. Injury….Southampton in for 20mins and thats it. Hope he leaves

Ivan Drago

Could it be that he’s having some psychological problems that the club don’t want to publicise?

Swiss Arsenal Fan

What everyone could see and feel was that today he is one of the best players in the world and on another day he is the scapegoat again. I think you have to be very tough to withstand this up and downs. Your thesis could be true!

Another Sam

Yes, like it’s Ozil’s fault that Leno made goalkeeping howlers which meant we lost against Southampton. If I were Ozil, I’d want to leave – I’d take less money to stop being made the scapegoat. I’m very disappointed. He was utterly brilliant against Leicester and played well at the start of the season, but has clearly got under Mr Hair Gel’s skin.


Yes lets all speculate about the mental health of Mesut Ozil like that’s normal behaviour

Ivan Drago

People are speculating on all sorts of reasons, is it really that far to suggest he might be having some personal issues that he doesn’t want the press to know about?

Viva la Prof

Fair enough not starting him for tactical reasons, I won’t criticise my football management experience stretches to division 6 on fifa ultimate team, but I do feel I know enough to say that in a game against the spunts he should definitely be on the bench

Swiss Arsenal Fan

2 possibilities:

Either it is a psychological problem of Özil or Emery and I think this is more realistic is convinced that Özil cannot fit in his squad. Why not Özil on the bench? This is ridiculous….I’m frustrated…yes or no…stay or leave. The Mourinho incident – what’s enough is enough, no compatibility had to go.


If emery has no intention of bringing him on why waste a spot on the bench?

Teryima Adi

Something is definitely wrong. I hope this is resolved ASAP.

Naija Gunner

It seems the Boss doesn’t like his style of play


Emery needs to buckle up his ideas. PSG f… him off, due to the poor relationship he had with star players. If you can’t handle star players, Go coach smaller teams.

Jean Ralphio

This is now really strange. I mean we know for sure that he had an injury right? But now I don’t know, hopefully they’re taking it easy with him (no Kos too)

Swiss Arsenal Fan

Look at the press…as well the British as German, no differences. “It’s not enough; again back spasm – wtf he has an injury, a back injury and if not treadet properly you can forget you life…; 20 minutes enough to show Emery to drop him ( southhampton ) ; time is ticking – endtimes for özil” Just because he earns 350k/ week ( I mean this guy is the assist king. He has achieved it ) he has to rape the pitch day in day out? Without weaknesses…cmon it is what is is…accept it or not. Sidekick manu – Sanchez… Read more »


Because he is on 350kpw, fans expecting more from him. If he didn’t suit our game, it’s better to sell him and sign others whom emery fancy. Also we can’t build a team around him because he is too unreliable because of this regular “back injury”.

Make Arsenal Great Again

Whatever that tactics was for leaving Ozil out, it backfired spectacularly today

Swiss Arsenal Fan

I’m with you


Play Xhaka in midfield to spread the ball. Plus iwobi, lazeTate’, and aubu! Together


Worked well enough when we won 4-2


Ok- I think I have come to the end of this glorification of coaches and coaching systems. It is a bunch of inflated egotistical nonsense. Yes, tactics do matter and you expect players to be professional but I do think that the sudden obsession with tactics is silly. Football is about the players who play the game– the individual talent is importantly more critical to the success of a team than some guy’s obsession with tactics. Overwhelmingly, the teams with the better players win football matches, not the team with some more idealized setup. To say it bluntly these coaches… Read more »


I am starting to wonder if Emery’s pride has anything/everything to do with it.


Tactics have always mattered to coaches. Giving players freedom and passion didn’t work very well for us the last few years, hence why people were calling for a modern tactically minded coach. The comments on this page today are an absolute mindbender right now.


..But if you really cared about having a back and forth you would actually read my comments and won’t just make unsupported assertions (and then disrespect me with “absolute mindbender”) — Freedom and Passion worked for a long time for us and who says that was the issue last season? That is not the crux of my comment anyway. Please read. Also, that’s the exact issue I am getting at– Is this “Modern tactical minded coach” a hoax? I am trying to figure out if it is. I mean Zidane won the champions league last 2 years– is he a… Read more »

Billy Bob

So we hit the bar and upright, lost to spuds and I don’t feel massively negative – spuds have a double header for a semi final that could be against chavski, man city or burton!! I am hoping it will be against chavski!!! We avoided injuries and can now concentrate on the league!!! Just hope we get some players back and glad we didn’t lose our winning run against the spuds!!!


Mesut is my favourite player ever, and has been through so much in the last year I really wanted him to succeed with the new manager and push on this season. We know he loves the club and we know he’s a good person. I don’t think he’s a diva, but there is definitely something going on between him and Emery. Perhaps the club don’t want to pay his wages any more and are trying to freeze him out. Perhaps Unai can’t find a way to play him in the team. Whatever it is it’s very upsetting, I want Mesut… Read more »


Ok, well at this point the excuses are basically evaporating before our eyes. Fully expect Özil to be moved on at the earliest opportunity, doubtless at a significant loss. Maybe not so bad it we replace with real quality. We are beginning to look a little threadbare, talent-wise.


I would happily take Manager’s stance over Mesut if Miki or Iwobi would have done better than Özil. Just because you want to do pressing doesn’t mean that you sacrifice creativity. Miki and Iwobi don’t offer anything with the ball but sure do a lot of defending off the ball. If that’s the case then why bother even playing them let’s sign a ball playing defender at their place this summer. Özil in or Özil out doesn’t matter. What matters is no one takes this to their own personal ego. Not the player and not the Manager as well. Unai… Read more »

Ricky Pusey

We’re wasting money keeping him on if he isn’t right tactically. We need to reinvest in someone who is hungry to win things.