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Playing Mesut Ozil against BATE Borisov was important and positive– Unai Emery

Written by: Tushaar Sachdeva

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The Gunners meet French side Rennes in the next round.

Arsenal defeated BATE Borisov at home to proceed to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa League in style. The Gunners had lost their away game in Belarus by a goal but scored three goals and kept a clean sheet to turn around the aggregate.

The centre-back duo of Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis scored after a 4th-minute own goal by BATE's Drahun. While the headlines were on the win, a Arsenal player returned on the field. Mesut Ozil started the game and Arsenal boss Unai Emery insists that he will continue to rotate the German midfielder.

The 30-year-old midfielder played the full 90 minutes for the first time in 2019.

"His spirit like today is good and his quality and capacity and combination with some players is good. I think we need every player, and playing Mesut was important and positive," said Emery.

Unai said that the team will need him to play a bigger part, "sometimes in the starting XI and sometimes on the bench."


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Teammate Alex Iwobi enjoyed playing the German midfielder, calling him a "world class" player and he hoped that he would "keep on playing."

"We know what Mesut's like because we see him in training every day," he told BBC.

"We scored three goals as a result of him playing. I know if I make a run he has the vision to find me."

The Gunners have been drawn with Rennes in the Round of 16, and have kept the Europa League as a priority, as a Premier League top four finish seems to be tough. If the English side wins the Europa League title, then an entry to Champions League will be confirmed.

Published: Fri Feb 22, 2019 06:08 PM IST

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