Unai Emery suggested Mesut Ozil did not deserve a place in Arsenal’s squad as he sat out Saturday’s Premier League defeat at West Ham.
The Gunners’ highest-paid player has returned to full training over the last week following a knee problem, but was left out of Emery’s travelling party completely as Declan Rice’s first senior goal sealed a 1-0 victory for West Ham at the London Stadium.
Ozil has missed a number of games this season, with differing reasons given for his absence. A 2-1 win at Bournemouth in November was the only time Emery conceded the former Germany international was left out for tactical reasons.
The Arsenal head coach stuck with the side which beat Fulham in their last Premier League outing, but the visitors were poor as they failed to find the back of the net in a league game for the first time since the opening weekend of the campaign.
But when pushed over why he opted to leave Ozil at home for the short trip to east London, Emery claimed all of those players who did make the trip deserved to be there.
“I decided the idea of the players that I think are the best for this match,” he said.
“We win with him, we lose with him. I think it is not one player (which means) we can’t win or lose.
“Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could’ve won or lost.
“We continue working with every player because they are all important, but today the decision was to come with these players.”