Unai Emery Explains Why Mesut Ozil Was Benched at Bournemouth

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Arsenal star Mesut Ozil didn’t see the pitch at all today in the 2-1 win at AFC Bournemouth, despite being perfectly fit and very well rested after the international break. Ozil was named to the team, but he never even got to warm up for the second half, let alone feature. Obviously, this was much to the surprise of many football observers.

Gunners manager Unai Emery explained his decision to use Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the attacking midfield in place of the German. In his explanation, Emery used a word “physicality,” which is not really a word in the actual English language, but it is a term that has become very widely used in the sports world over the course of the past several years.

“We thought how we can be better in the match today which is very demanding with the physicality and the intensity,” Emery responded when asked why Ozil was dropped.

“Also today we tried with three centre-backs like we’ve done at some stages this season and it’s another possibility for us to improve and find our best performance.”

The back three was a formation switch for Emery, who usually plays with four in the back line. However, this is far from the first time that he’s gone with this formation.

“We played like that in preseason, and in Qarabag, and it was an opportunity for us to find our best performance, best system and best combinations,” he said.

“For example, today there was Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi which is a very interesting combination. Also, when we are pushing with Hector Bellerin wide we need some players for balance.”

“The most important thing for us is finding balance in the defensive moments because we are conceding more goals than we want, but we don’t want to lose our good performances in attacking moments with scoring and the players’ performances,” the Spaniard added, “but we need to improve and we need to do more.”

Perhaps Mesut Ozil will see some time on Thursday when the Gunners take on Vorskla in UEFA Europa League action. After that match comes a massive north London derby on Sunday December 2nd. Fifth place Arsenal will host third place Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Lineups.com and Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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