Unai Emery successfully deflected some uncomfortable questions over one of his captains while speaking to the media. Ahead of Arsenal‘s clash with Bournemouth on Sunday, the Spanish coach said he didn’t play Mesut Ozil against Standard Liege because others deserved it more.
The former German international has been largely absent this season. He’s got just 71 minutes of Premier League football under his belt, leading to speculation of his involvement in the squad.
Unai Emery, Mesut Ozil at Odds Ahead of Bournemouth Match
The two have had feuds in the past. Right from the start of Unai Emery’s reign it seemed like Mesut Ozil just wasn’t his type of player. The midfielder is a talent to be sure but he doesn’t always apply himself off the ball, a big taboo for the former Sevilla boss.
There are rumours of a training ground bust-up and numerous disagreements about the player’s role. It is unclear exactly what the feud is about this time with Emery simply stating,
“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.
“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.”
Even after all those words, we are left unclear about Ozil’s possible involvement.
Bournemouth will have two players absent. Both Adam Smith and Dan Gosling are currently unavailable as they have for most of the season. Good news for Cherries fans is that they’re almost fit according to Eddie Howe.
For Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette remains out with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Emile Smith Rowe did not take part in the victory over Liege on Thursday stemming from his head injury against Nottingham Forest, suggesting he will also sit.
Bournemouth are yet to take a Premier League point away from the Emirates Stadium. Although the Gunners are struggling, they remain clear favourites.
The Cherries will likely find joy against a backline that should consist partly of David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now scored seven goals in his seven Premier League matches this season.
Expect goals at both ends in this encounter, but the firepower of Arsenal should propel them to three points.
Predicted score: Arsenal 3 Bournemouth 2
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