Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed he dropped Mesut Ozil for Sunday’s 2-1 win at Bournemouth due to the midfielder’s “physicality”.
The former PSG handler opted for a change in formation at the Vitality stadium, deploying three centre-backs with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexi Iwobi behind striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, leaving no space for Ozil from the start.
While Aaron Ramsey, who is set to leave the club at the end of the season, was brought on to replace Iwobi with eight minutes remaining but Ozil did not warm up at any point in the game.
Asked after the victory if leaving Ozil out was a tactical decision, Emery said: “We thought about how we could be better with a very demanding match with physicality and intensity and we decided [to not play him].
“Also, today we played with three centre-backs, like some moments in the season we will work like this and it’s another possibility for improvement, to find our best performance in the squad.”
Reporters pressed Emery regarding his decision not to introduce Ozil with the game still being contested until the final whistle, suggesting he had a lack of trust in the German.
Emery continued: “In the beginning of the season we were speaking every day, saying ‘we need to be competitive, we need to be organised and we need individual quality to better our performance’, it is the same today.”