Arsenal boss Unai Emery insists his decision to omit Mesut Ozil from Arsenal’s squad to face West Ham had no impact on the Gunners’ 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium. The German last played for Arsenal on Boxing Day and was expected to feature against the Hammers after confirming on his Instagram page that he had had a ‘full week of training’.
Arsenal set-up in a 3-5-2 formation against Manuel Pellegrini’s men but created little either side of Declan Rice’s first goal for the club shortly after half-time. Emery, though, insists Ozil’s absence had no impact on Arsenal’s display and confirmed that the German was left out because of tactical reasons.
‘We decided the players here [today] are best for this match,’ revealed Emery. ‘We have won with him [Ozil], we have lost with him. One player doesn’t decide a game. We can win or lose without him. ‘I can say he is working this week normally but like I said to you we have won with him and lost with him. The players that are here today deserved to play this match. ‘We continue to work with every player because they are all important. Today the decision was to go with these players.
Arsenal’s defeat leaves them three points off Chelsea in fourth, having played a game more than the Blues. The Gunners host Chelsea at the Emirates next week and Emery rued Arsenal’s missed opportunity to close the gap on Maurizio Sarri’s side before their showdown. ‘I think the result is a bad result,’ said Emery. ‘We lost a very good opportunity to take the three points to continue closer to Chelsea and other teams in the top four but we lost. ‘We wanted to do better. Looking at the chances in the match from West Ham, from us, I think maybe the result is not a result we deserved.’