Unai Emery Reportedly Backed by Arsenal After Mesut Ozil's West Ham Absence


LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on August 12, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Arsenal board are reportedly giving their full backing to manager Unai Emery in his handling of star midfielder Mesut Ozil. 

According to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph, Emery has total authority in dealing with the German, who was left out of the side for the 3-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday.

As noted in the report, Ozil told his manager he was ill on Friday and wasn’t included in the squad for the Premier League clash as a result. Emery dismissed reports after the match that the duo had a falling out.

“Ozil now faces a fight to win his place back, but Emery will receive the full backing of his Arsenal chiefs over whatever decision he makes—despite the fact the former Real Madrid man is the club’s highest earner on £350,000 a week,” added Law. 

It’s noted that Emery wants to avoid a similar situation to his experience as Paris Saint-Germain boss, where Neymar attracted a huge amount of focus following his world-record transfer from Barcelona.

“Emery was forced to concede that Neymar was the most powerful man at PSG but has already made it clear that no Arsenal player, including Ozil, will call the shots at the Emirates,” said Law.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

On Monday it was reported by John Cross of the Daily Mirror that Ozil was “battling for his Arsenal future” under the new coach, and he was “told in training last week that he must work harder as suspicions grew that he could get dropped against West Ham.”

Cross said on Twitter that he’s pleased to see the former PSG boss take this approach with the player:

In the end the decision made by Emery was vindicated, as Arsenal recovered from a goal down to beat West Ham, securing the first win of his tenure. Aaron Ramsey stepped into the No. 10 position and caused problems with his driving runs.

While it was a far from perfect display by the Gunners, it’s clear Ozil now faces serious competition for his place. With Ramsey performing well and Henrikh Mkhitaryan offering creativity, Arsenal do appear pretty well stocked when it comes to their attacking midfielders.

Still, if Emery can find a way to bring the best out of Ozil’s talents Arsenal will be better for it, as he possesses a technical ability and vision few in world football can match, as these numbers show:

The manager has made it clear that the system takes priority as things stand, and Saturday was the most cohesive Arsenal have looked as a team under Emery so far.

As such, it would be a surprise if many changes were made for Sunday’s trip to newly promoted Cardiff City, where the Gunners will be big favourites for victory. If Ozil is made to wait for his chance, it’s imperative he seizes it.

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