Mesut Ozil, despite experiencing controversy with Germany’s national team before sensationally retiring from international duty, appeared to be settled in well at Arsenal FC at the time.
However, that move away from the national setup, due to alleged discrimination, on July 22, 2018, seemed to instead set the stage for more tension at the club level. Arsene Wegner had just left Arsenal after a legendary 22-year career at the English Premier League club, and his replacement, Unai Emery, was not enamored with what the German showed him.
However, it’s not clear that leaving him out of the squad is a good thing for the club. For example, one of the most significant matches that he missed was a 1-0 loss to West Ham United on Jan. 12, 2019. That setback left the club six points behind Chelsea in the race for fourth place in the Premier League table and a Champions League place, and the loss ended up being pivotal as the club finished in fifth, one point shy of that coveted fourth spot. At the time, Emery said, “For me, he is like another player.” But what has frustrated so many is that he was one of Arsenal’s big earners at £350,000 per week.
The most recent decision that has left many scratching their heads was deciding to leave Mesut Ozil in London when the team made their trip to Ozil’s native Germany for a Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt. The reasoning was so that he’d be well rested for the English Premier League contest with Aston Villa that would be played three days later.
It’s also possible that he was left home to keep him from distracting the club as it would have been his first match in Germany since his departure from that country’s national team, but Unai Emery clearly stated that that was not part of his reasoning. As a result of this questionable reasoning, leaving the German out of the squad for this match ended up providing plenty of distractions of its own.
But that doesn’t change the big picture between Ozil and Emery as Ozil has played just 71 minutes for Arsenal this season, which also places doubt on him needing rest being a valid reason for not bringing him with the club to Germany. His first appearance for Arsenal FC and all 71 of those minutes came four days earlier, when he and the Gunners played Watford to a 2-2 Premier League draw.
Maybe things between Ozil and Emery will change now, and Emery has said that he was impressed with what Ozil showed against Watford, but only time will tell. Also, the Spanish manager has not stated in clear terms whether or not the player would see playing time against Aston Villa in the end anyway.
Many have said that the tension between Emery and Ozil is due to the latter not fitting into the former’s high-intensity system, but a number of pundits have added that this Emery and Ozil issue has resulted in a player who can significantly influence any match that he enters being mostly snubbed instead.