For the second game in succession, Mesut Ozil was not included in the Arsenal squad. He was expected to be in the team for the Europa League clash with Standard Liege, but wasn’t even on the bench.
Whatever about a trip to Old Trafford and it’s suitability for the German, a home game against lower calibre opposition is basically perfect for him. Instead, he wasn’t even on the bench, and Unai Emery’s explanation afterwards was quite pointed.
Pressed on the absence of the £350,000 a week man, the Arsenal boss said, “I am thinking every time to decide the best players for each match and the best players in the squad to play and to help us.
“When I decided he shouldn’t be in the squad it’s because I think other players deserved it more.”
And on what he needs to get to get back into consideration, he continued, “He needs to continue working.
“Tomorrow we have training with the players who didn’t play, and on Sunday we have another match, and we are going to decide the same.
“Our target is to win on Sunday against Bournemouth, and we want to carry on our same way in each match.”
It does sound as if there’s been some kind of breakdown in the relationship between the manager and Ozil, after a kind of uneasy truce had been found in the second half of last season.
Emery named him as one of his five captains, but as ever with a player of that stature, when he’s left out in such circumstances, it creates a talking point.
In the end, Arsenal didn’t miss him as the young Guns ran riot, spanking four past the Belgians, but this isn’t the kind of story that goes away, so expect more on this in the days and weeks to come. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s going to be healthy or not.