Monday, May 20, 2024

Emery explains Ozil substitution during ‘crazy’ Liverpool game

Having been left out of the squad entirely for weeks, Mesut Ozil returned to the Arsenal team last night at Anfield, and played well.

Despite only playing 65 minutes, he had 44 touches – only Lucas Torreira, and the two centre-halves who both played 90 minutes, had more – and he was involved in the goals, in particular a great assists for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

His withdrawal raised some eyebrows, but afterwards Unai Emery explained his thinking behind it, as well as giving his verdict on the German’s performance.

“I think he played very well,” he said. “Tonight, you’ve seen he is a skilful player in the team and he was very positive every time and I think he played a very good match.

“We spoke before the match, and we made the decision in the second half to take him off because he hasn’t played for a little while and we want to keep his fitness as he was very tired but for him it was great to play 60-65 minutes.

“We decided before the game to only play him for that amount of time. I think in that moment it is good to make that decision as we were calm and he did the work very well and we decided it was better to rest him.”

And the question as to whether he was taken off because he might play on Saturday was raised. On that Emery sounded positive, saying, “Yes he will feature.

“We have a match on Saturday and we will look at the possibility to use him again alongside other players and this is the way sometimes.”

In what the Spaniard called a crazy game, Arsenal twice had a two goal lead, and were seconds away from going through until conceding an injury time equaliser to Divock Origi in the 5-5 draw.

Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties.

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Even Carragher said it. Mesut Ozil is far too good to not be in our team. Its not rocket science Unai. Play your best players. Even though we lost last night, can I just say how refreshing it was to see us be far more combative in midfield? To see the dynamism of Torriera, Wilock, Saka, Maitland-Niles actually being able to first and foremost, meet the physical demands of playing away at Anfield. Closing distance at break neck speed. Pressing with intensity. One of our goals came from forcing Milner into a mistake. Then Ozil pops up with a bit… Read more »

Mesut O’Neill

It’s easier to do those things when you’re playing against weak opponents. Arsenal should be embarrassed that they lost this game to a bunch of nobodies & James Milner


@Mesut O’Neil I think in isolation maybe, but personally I think it’s the other way round. There was huge emphasis on Ozil to perform last night. I know it’s ‘only the League Cup,’ but it’s still at Anfield under the lights, where we have a shocking record recently. Not forgetting the added pressure of being expected to shoulder the responsibility of managing the game with all of young players looking up to him for a performance. And no matter what Unai said in the post match. I’d bet any money he was expecting Mesut to completely flop. There is surely… Read more »

Reality check

Mesut O
Keita, Origi, Ox and Milner – they are all very competent players with international caps under their belt.. thair team cost them equally if not more than our team did to us. They played a couple of unknowns which made them look weaker than they actually were.


Don’t fool yourself. You know our team was much more experienced than theirs. Ours (bar martinelli) could have been our 1st team.


@GogzTheFrog that’s just not true.


@Gogz, there is a small amount of truth in this re: experience, but our team was very much a second string 11. The exceptions could possibly be: Bellerin / Holding would be first choice when fully fit, Torreira should start, but Emerey, and Saka / Willock are kids who have been playing a few games.

If our 11 was more experienced, it says more about our strength in depth, or lack of it in Liverpool’s squad. All of Liverpool’s 11 (apart from Williams) are in Liverpool’s first team.


It says that our highest paid players aren’t necessarily better than the academy.


I know that Auba is hot, but I just wonder what a combination of Martineli and Laca up front with pepe and Auba on both wings, just ad Ozil dictates things behind them will look like. I know that Auba is an excellent scorer of goals, but Young Martinelli harasses defenders into submission. No harm in trying him in the top nine position where he can interchange with Auba in between games and find out how it goes with our attack. Ozil can have a field day with such huge talents in front of him. But Emery is too pessimistic… Read more »

Reality check

We’ll be trading punches all game with that lineup, just like yesterday, will be.. loll. Personally, I’d play Martinelli on the wing to do the dirty work and leave Auba uptop with laca just behind. Auba is wasted that far away from the goal, let him do his “now you see me – now you don’t” thing with the opposition defenders..


I agree with the essence of what you’re saying as far as Martinelli and Auba but at the start of your comment, you’re suggesting a 4-4-2 with Ozil as one of the two in midfield mate. That would be a lot of pressure on the other midfielder defensively.

Laca New Signing

Mesut Özil will definitely be the end of Unai.’s Arsenal job. The proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”. I hope he’s learning. Good ebening!

Man Manny

Unai had said a lot about the Ozil situation; Ozil did his talking on the pitch yesternight, and what a speech it was. Now Unai has been found out.
I think this “truce” has something to do with Xhaka. Unai won’t play Xhaka on Saturday; the midfield would be one man short on experience. He falls back on Ozil in the most discreet way possible.
If the Xhaka situation hadn’t arisen, we’d still be where we were on Ozil.

Wilsheres Middle Finger

It’s clear that Emery is inept at managing mercurial talent. Ozil should be molly-coddled as much as humanly possible if it means we can get that kind of performance out of him on a more consistent basis.


This weirdly new fpund ptimism for özil + the likely lack of Xhaka given the current situation may actually mean a real chance of a proper midfield behind an attacking trio on Saturday!!! Please just make it happen


Pity its all circumstance and not the manager realising the need for it… Still has to go imho


At first i thought your O key was broken


I just got excited


All things aside, watching a team with a player like Mesut Ozil in it is more fun than watching a team without. Just for pure football reasons.


Nicolas Pepe





F*ck it. I’ll raise you. 400.


“if you love to watch football, you love to watch ozil”


I feel like people are just saying Ozil had a great game, but there is no pointing to the reason(s) why he had a great game. And here is one in my opinion: I recall Jurgen Klopp once said, “No playmaker in the world can be as good as a good counter-pressing situation”. Ozil was at the forefront of our counter-pressing yesterday and he did it so beautifully well than I’ve ever seen it done at Arsenal. Now, when you have the most creative/intelligent No 10 in the world playing a counter-pressing game this good like he did yesterday, you… Read more »


he was involved 3 goals…. literally. He saw Saka in the middle of their box for our first, which allowed for the shot which lead to the deflection which lead to the goal from Torreira. He backheeled the ball to Saka which allowed him to go through for the cross and Martinelli to finish. He backheel passed the ball to AMN after that which allowed him to finish.


Christ, the white washing of history here is incredible! One half decent game for 60 minutes and suddenly he is the second coming. Anybody remember the slops he served up for 2 years prior to this?!

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be proved wrong and for Ozil to become the 15/16 version of himself again, but there is an awful lot of bandwagon jumping going on here.


Sudden attitude change to Ozil after the Xhaka incident is laughable. No doubt, hopefully with Ozil in the team for our EPL, he can supply the ammunition for Laca, Auba and Pepe.

Man Manny

…with Torreira and Guendouzi behind him to do the screening for the back four.
Unai has to set up the team to offset Ozil’s weakness if he is to get the best out of him.
I think Xhaka is the reason Ozil was left out.

Maul Person

Ozil was left out because Emery doesn’t like him. Not because of Xhaka.

DB10s Air Miles

Well yeah but…. Perhaps if the xhaka situation hadn’t have happened then emery wouldn’t have felt so desperate to get the fans back on side by playing ozil? Obviously, bearing in mind that only last week he said mesut was being left out of the squad as part of an agreed club strategy.

Wilsheres Middle Finger

Fan power is crazy. I remember Wenger once said that fans will be voting on substitutions next and I thought he was mad (still loved him obviously). It’s very possible that we’ve influenced Xhaka and Ozil’s place in the team. Maybe it wasn’t so mad after all, which doesn’t suprise me really given that mans knowledge of the game.

A Different George

And yet, as Tim Stillman has pointed out, Xhaka to Ozil was the most common pass played by Arsenal last season. Tim argued that it was Ozil’s absence that made Xhaka’s role redundant. Worth reading, even if it’s not totally convincing.


Watching the team yesterday with Mesut and comparing it with the other games I just can’t see how he doesn’t improve the team or at least how he can’t at least impact some games with the type of football we have been playing lately. I know he won’t produce every game and I have watched games that he went anonymous but come on Emery put your pride aside and open your eyes. I know you have heard the saying that pride comes before a fall. Right now some fans are already calling for his sacking, I don’t like to see… Read more »


I was neutral on the Özil situation. After seeing him tonight my memory kicked in.. He’s a creative link we’ve been missing. Özil pepe laca auba… I just need to see it in in the prem once or twice before Emery receives my full loathing. As for the defence, we are just going to have to score 6 goals per game.itd be fun at least.

Mesut O’Neill

Look at the players he was up against before hailing him as the second coming of Bergkamp.

Playing well against 16 year old Harvey Elliot & 18 year old Neco Williams is hardly stuff of legends.


Just take a look at our performance against our Europa league opponent Vitoria and you’d realise that we’ve still been shit regardless of quality of opposition. Ozil’s quality is glaring and the opposition can’t take that away from him

Maul Person

Saying MO10 is a missing link in our team does not immediately make him comparable with DB10. Try reading the actual words instead of what you want to see…


Just so you know… Ceballos, after substitution, played against the same lot, with fresher legs while the opposition was tired. Did he lit up the match? No one is saying that Ozil is god, but there’s some merit to the argument that he is much better than at least some of our midfielders to warrant a selection in the team.


rob holding is not the answer to our defensive problems thats a fact after yesterdays shocker

A Different George

Holding was awful yesterday, but he is not awful very often. No, he’s not better than Cannavaro, but he might be good enough.


I thought how the game pans out should dictate the substitutions to be made. Ozil was enjoying the game, Unai should have left him on.


It is not as simple as that.


If he will need to feature in Saturday, taking him off was a wise decision

A Different George

If it’s really true that Ozil was feeling tired (I didn’t see that, but it’s not always obvious) and most of all, if it’s true that Emery is planning to play him in the league, then I have no problem with the substitution. Though it certainly changed our play for the worse.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

Arsenal fans are the reason why this club will continue to take shits… Why are we always waiting for the board to act to save us when we know we have a clueless board right now… I don’t think Emery will last anymore days at Chelsea..knowing the kind of ruthless fans they have..and guess what?… That’s why they have been the most successful team in London for the past ten years You guys carry big mouths to boo a Xhaka that walked off and visibly said the f word but trying to remain patient with a man that is indirectly… Read more »

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

The moment we realize that we don’t have to be classy in every situation then that would be the time we would get back to being competitive….it’s not just all about just spending huge money on players or getting a brilliant coach….it’s about the fans being ruthless enough to let every player and coach coming into the club know they have to be a success or they move on immediately….enough of being a baby sitting club to average performing players that can still go ahead to tell the fans to fuck off… So tell me..what’s the need? We need to… Read more »

Are you a fan or a hitman?

Eat a cookie and calm down a little.

I Am Gooner

Urmm…lets be honest, its Chelsea’s board, not the fans, that sack every manager they find after a season. Its also Chelsea’s owner who wants to spend big on every toy in the playground.
What else can Arsenal fans do? We don’t own the club, we support the club. We jeer Emery, speak out against him the same way some did against Wenger in the latter stages of his tenure, but we aren’t baby-sitting Xhaka. As blogs said, he was booed against Villa this season, I don’t know any Arsenal fans who were enthusiastic about him last season.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

You must be joking if you really think it’s all down to Chelsea board for the sacking of their managers…and for chelsea owner spending big..we had an owner in Usmanov who is far richer than abramovich..Usmanov wanted to spend big but wasn’t allowed…it says alot about Kroenke…..Abramovich is only because he wants to see his team competitive.. He loves Chelsea….you claim we jeer Emery…trust me we haven’t given close to a quarter of the abuse we gave to our greatest manager to Emery….. Arsenal fans will watch this club go down to the dust if we don’t rise up and… Read more »

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

I remember bakayoko came into chelsea and didn’t impress and it didn’t take long for chelsea fans to turn on him and get him off the club.. This was someone that came up for over 40m(that is pure ruthlessness from the chelsea fans)…but the likes of xhaka(35m) and mustafi(35m) are still in our club……chelsea fans want to succeed…they don’t want to be bullied by the likes of Liverpool and man city… They don’t want a coach that can look into their face and tell them that their team hates to going to anfield….but Arsenal fans watch,sit and pay heavy ticket… Read more »

to be fair the club very publicly tried to move Mustafi

Maul Person

Is this guy trying to out-Santori Santori…?!

Bamzee Blaze

I quite agree with you. Arsenal fans are surely not up and doing with their responsibilities. If we can book Xhaka, why not Emery? That is selective amnesia right there and it’s all bollocks to me. Where are those guys that flew the Wenger out plane? Are they on Emery’s payroll?


The guys who hired THAT plane have hopefully crashed into a sewer and had their putrid bodies eaten by rats.


Difference is their owner is willing to go into “debt” to win and don’t care. If Roman wasn’t like he that Chelsea fans would be disappointed. But probably happy because they would still have players like salah and kdb lol


Usmanov is all talk until he actual it does it. Rich man can buy any club right now and prove he would spend the money but he hasn’t. Newcastle has been for sale for awhile. Has he bought that club with his billions? This guy is a joke until he proves it

This Isn’t to defend kroenke ownership.


Also Chelsea fans are pricks


If you love football, you love mesut ozil


Ozil played 3 matches b4 this game. Surely, he needs more minute. Even if he is gg to be sub, do it later in the game.. The same can be said about toreira. Had he chose them bit more regularly prior to this match, they wouldn’t be playing catch up on minutes on the field thing. Oh well, what do I know right, I’m no unai emery and he is the head coach. Over the wolves and let’s see the line up.


Torreira is the only one in our midfield who actually tackles and can make the pressing game work. He does need to play deeper than last night though to protect our defence.

Grammar Nasty

I don’t half miss Arsene Wenger. I’d have his leanest years over this any day of the week.

John Jensens Barber

Me too.
At least we had a philosophy and played attracted football.
Emery is a clueless buffoon stumbling from one disaster to another…

Mesut O’Neill

Yes I would much rather get spanked 8-2, 6-0, 6-0, 5-1 every time against top opposition.

Delusional. It was Wenger’s time to go but unfortunately Gazidis hired the wrong man to replace him

Bamzee Blaze

Are we not getting spanked still by top opposition or do you just suddenly develop amnesia when it comes to Emery’s record against them? Heck! He was just dusted by Liverpool kids at Anfield yet again.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

we are getting nothing from the wolves and Leicester matches because any team that’s well structured defensively and create alot of chances will not lose to arsenal…and it’s the simple painful truth at this moment
Southampton and Norwich are the matches i expect us to get maximum six points because they are defensively bad without solid structures right now..

Watford was like Southampton and Norwich but they came from 2 goals down to get a draw. Nothing is guaranteed right now, This arsenal team will lose a 3 goal lead to any opposition that decides to apply little pressure.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

If we can’t beat Southampton then arsenal should better off end this horrible season…and start off our next pre season early


That’s a distinct possibility


Save it you fucking clown. I have no time for this snake-oil merchant.

Snake Oil Merchants Union Rep

What do you have against snake oil merchants?


in theory: Auba, Laca and Pepe in attack with Øzil taking care of the ammo, should be absolute world class.

And add two workaholics in Torreira and Guendouzi behind them. We should be just fine.

Tierney and Bellerin are also class, and last week our only goals came from our two defenders. And Leno is class.

Xhaka’s reaction might just be the key to unleashing this teams full potential

John Jensens Barber

Yeah right…

I Am Gooner

I agree with you. We have such a fine defence, conceding five last night and defending like a rusty chastity belt all season is entirely due to Emery’s inability to coach a team in to defending.


Yes, the “Holding & Tierney will solve all” viewpoint (which included me) had a rude shock last night. I do believe we have to go for it still.

Win,lose or draw Emery remains the wrong choice

Aubameyang and lacazette are not going to remain in this club by next season…mark my words…..we don’t deserve them… I wonder what would be going on in Pepe’s mind

I get to play with Martinelli! that’s what.

Mesut O’Neill

You realize Tierney was on the field for only one of the goals?


True, but the central defenders were Mustafi and Holding… not Luiz and Sokratis, who basically scored 3 goals against Palace.

Also they have a better keeper in Leno + If they have support from Torreira and Guendouzi, things will look way better than with Torreira as an attacking midfielder or Xhaka as a defensive midfielder.


Do you reckon the board have intervened here? When asked about Ozil, or anything, I’ve never heard such a affirmative response from Emery.

Laca New Signing

Anyone noticed that Santori and his full page Özil bashing posts have been conspicuously missing in action today? Same with all the known Özil bashers on this blog

That said I think matter how much he tries definitely the “Özil adds nothing to the team” wankers will still find some fault and a stick with which to beat him. I’m waiting to hear their “verdict”.

#EmeryOut #XhakaOut #OzilIn #TorreiraIn


Ozils demise greatly exaggerated by a few people but shockingly by our own.
I have said before emery has a lot more to prove at Arsenal than Ozil. One has helped us win trophies the other has caused a lot of headaches. Long way to go for emery.


Please stop this Ozil will save us nonsense he wasn’t up against VDV in fairness how many times has he gone missing on a pitch wearing a bright red shirt. No doubt he has ability but his attitude and/or work rate are too often called into question. Yes Arsenal are a better team with a focused Ozil in it but do we know which one is on the pitch when the whistle goes. The absence of Xhaka hopefully will speed up transition and give a better balance so we see flowing football again.

Der Kaiser

The ansence of world class centte backs ( one being a true leader) is our missing link. The lad from St Eteinne may be half of the duo we need

Bamzee Blaze

Don’t join the narrative that we don’t have good defenders. They may not be world-class but they are not runts either. They are just playing in a system that is not rejigged to offset their weaknesses. Combination of poor tactics and lack of a defined system has taken quite a toll on them. Our weakest area is our midfield. Until we sort that, I don’t see a miracle happening with our defence no matter the personally we hire there to do a job. After the season we lost the title to Leicester, our Midfield troubles started. We lost Cazorla to… Read more »


Who else is struggling with this paradox?: I’m now convinced Arsenal won’t be a truly good team with Emery in charge, so I want him replaced ASAP. Any good form we see with him in charge will be a false dawn. But I want Arsenal to win every match. But he won’t be replaced if this happens.

Laca New Signing

I’m with you in this. A part of me wants the club to win every match they play. That’s my loyal Gooner side. But there’s a part of me that wants the poor results to continue to the point where the management realizes that Emery is not the man to progress us from where Monsieur Arsene left. In a club that cherishes winning while playing beautiful football (Barca, RM) this wouldn’t be an issue coz he’d still be fired whether or not he keeps winning. Unfortunately I’m not sure we are that club, so only a string of bad results… Read more »


That’s exactly how I feel except I think Torreira could do the DM job at least for this season. It is a weird dilemma while watching a game and I hate it.


I am visiting London this week from the States and will be at the Wolves game. It appears that there will be no shortage of drama, if nothing else.


Can’t wait until Ozil isn’t even in the team for Wolves…

Kanu Believe It

Watch Emery not play him this weekend, just to complete the trolling.


Makes perfect sense to me. Some people want to see problems where there are none. And think they know more bc they are self conceited and embolden by social media. It was always going to be the case ozil won’t last 60-65min and you could see our output dipped second half where I thought second part of first half, Ozil-Torreira-Willock as a unit was coming into some effectiveness. But sustaining effort has always been an unresolved issue for us and we have yet to find the perfect midfield recipe or confidence level. That said, thought Unai has (contrary to media… Read more »

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