‘Ozil is important for us’ – Emery responds to Arsenal scapegoat claim


The German midfielder has been training well according to the Gunners’ head coach and could soon be back in action

Unai Emery insists Mesut Ozil remains an important soccer professional for Arsenal after the German complained that he has been made to feel like a scapegoat at the Emirates.

Ozil has made just two appearances so far this season, with his only minutes in the Premier League coming during the 2-2 draw at Watford last month.

The 31-year-old hasn’t even made the squad for the past three league games, despite being fit, with Emery stating that others were more deserving of an opportunity to impress.

That has led to suggestions that Ozil – the highest paid soccer professional at Arsenal – could leave in January, but the former Real Madrid man has responded by saying he wants to remain in north London until at least the end of his contract in 2021.

Speaking to the Athletic, the playmaker also took aim at his critics and how he has been portrayed.

“If we don’t do well in a big game, it’s always my fault,” he said. “If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the big games when I wasn’t involved? There’s no real difference. 

“I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make the difference — I do, too — but it’s not that straightforward.

Mesut Ozil Arsenal 2019-20

“I’m not the only soccer professional in the team and, don’t forget, some of our opponents are simply better than us.”

The view that Ozil has been often unfairly targeted has been one that has been shared by many supporters, with Emery himself being criticised by sections of the Arsenal fanbase for the way he appears to have frozen the soccer professional out in recent weeks.

But ahead of Monday’s trip to Sheffield United, the Spaniard has been adamant that Ozil remains in his plans.

“We are in our way and we live in the present,” said Emery, when asked if Ozil’s assessment that he has been often the scapegoat was fair. “In this present we are looking for the best way to be competitive, to play each match with our best quality and best mentality.

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“Mesut Ozil, for us, has been important. Sometimes one soccer professional could be important playing or could be important being on the bench or could be important preparing for the next match.

“This has been our mentality and this has been the way we want to create with 25 players in the squad.

“Mesut Ozil has been in the same way and I told you now for the last three weeks he has been working and improving and being better in the training. If we need him we are going use him.”


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