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Emery 'picked players who deserved to play' as Ozil absence questioned

The German playmaker sat out the Gunners’ defeat at West Ham.

Frozen out: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.
Frozen out: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil.

ARSENAL BOSS Unai Emery insisted there was nothing to be read into Mesut Ozil’s absence from the squad for the 1-0 defeat at West Ham as he stressed “we know we can’t lose him”.

Ozil returned to training following a knee problem this week but was left out of the matchday squad as Declan Rice’s second-half strike stretched Arsenal’s win-less away run in the league to five matches.

Emery said Ozil’s omission was not an indication that he would be sold during the January transfer window, instead claiming the decision was purely a tactical one.

“We have enough players to win today and impose our game plan, our tactics and quality against West Ham,” he said. 

“But also respect to West Ham, they have good players, with their supporters here they feel strong and maybe for the match some players, like attacking players, can help, but we had enough with these players.

“I decided that the players I have here were the best for this match. We have won with him, we have lost with him, he is not one player that is for sale. We know we can’t lose him.

“I can say he is working this week normally. I just said we have won and lost with him and today the players here were the players who deserved to be in this match and with them we can win, but we lost.

“I will continue to work with every player because they are all important but today the decision was to come with these players.”

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