Mikel Arteta made the decision to exclude Mesut Ozil from the Arsenal squad for last night’s win over Leicester in the Carabao Cup, and he was questioned on his selection after the 90 minutes.
The former German international has been frozen out of the playing squad since the Coronavirus pandemic hit, with some of the belief that his infamous decision to reject a wage reduction during that time as potential reasoning.
Whatever the reason is, Mikel Arteta has stuck with his ground, and the manager claims that the decision has only been about football, telling Arsenal media following the final whistle.
The Spaniard was asked why the former Real Madrid star was left out today, to which he replied: “I am really happy with the performance of the players here, how difficult they are making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.”
He was then pressed on the matter, when asked what had changed regarding Mesut. He added: “The team is evolving and you can see the level they are achieving, so this is where we are at at the moment. We want to evolve more, play better and compete better, so we need to keep maintaining that trend.”
“You can see that the players that we are changing and using every week, that it is very difficult – not just for Mesut but the rest of the players – for some to make the squad. Every week, we try to pick the right players.
“It is difficult for others as well who weren’t involved in the Premier League and they didn’t play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we cannot give all of them playing time.
“Of course I understand, I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible and pick the players that, in my opinion, are in a better condition to play.”
The manager continues to reiterate that the team comes before any single player, and with the team getting all the right results at the moment, I’m struggling to understand why such heavy questioning was prompted after the win.
Would Ozil even fit into our current formation and style? Will Arsenal’s form need to change drastically to open the door to Mesut?