Arsenal were at the receiving end of a shock defeat in Belarus.
Thursday night match-up against a lowly BATE Borisov turned out to be a disappointing outing for Arsenal as they were defeated 1-0 in their Round of 32 fixture of the Europa League. Unai Emery lead Arsenal desperately lacked creativity going forward and clearly missed Mesut Ozil’s imagination and skill on the ball. During the post-match press conference, the 47-year-old tactician dismissed the fact that Arsenal needed Ozil to defeat their opponents.
Fans have called out Unai Emery’s team selection after the gaffer opted for Henrikh Mkhitaryan instead of Ozil who had not even travelled with the squad. After creating a few good chances in the first half, Arsenal desperately lacked any creativity in the final third in the second half and failed to score on the night.
Upon being asked about the availability of the German midfielder, Emery was seen justifying his lineup. He said, ”Every player is OK to play. Today those that were here, we can win with them and we deserved that.”
He further added by saying that, ”Last week we won and we played with the same players. For me today there was no difference to the performance. We deserved to win but didn’t get the result. It’s not for one player or another. We can win with every players and lose with the same players.”
To make matters worse for the London-based club, they will be without the services of their striker, Alexandre Lacazette, who got sent-off in the 85th-minute culminating a frustrating night for the Frenchman.
Emery pointed out that he had a conversation with the forward and that such reactions need to be controlled. He said,” It’s bad news with the red card. Next week we aren’t going to play with him but now we are going to think with the players that are okay for next week.”
Arsenal legend, Martin Keown also voiced his dejection over Ozil missing what was supposed to be his 100th Arsenal game. The second-leg now becomes a must-win fixture for ‘The Gunners’ if they are to march forward in the competition.
The call for bringing back Ozil in the starting lineup by the fans has fallen on deaf ears since the 30-year-old has fallen out of favor in the eyes of the Spanish manager.
Whether Emery brings in Mesut Ozil back in the lineup or not will be a talking point in the coming days for sure. It seems that Unai has no intention to select the German and it is possibly the time his association with Arsenal might be coming to an end.