Arsenal News: Unai Emery defends his decision to leave Mesut Ozil out of Europa League squad against Frankfurt
What's the story?
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has defended his decision to leave out Mesut Ozil from the Gunners' Europa League squad against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night, claiming that the midfielder is being rested for the weekend's game.
In case you didn't know...
Ozil, who made his first appearance of the new season as the Gunners were held to a 2-2 draw by Watford on Sunday, was replaced by Reiss Nelson after 71 minutes at Vicarage Road.
The German's start to the campaign was delayed, owing to a security scare he suffered at the end of pre-season when he and Sead Kolasinac were attacked by armed men in London. The incident led to both the players being absent from Arsenal's Premier League opener against Newcastle United. Ozil later suffered an illness which further disrupted his return to the team.
The former Real Madrid playmaker trained with his teammates at London Colney on Wednesday morning but was not named in the squad that travelled to Germany in the afternoon.
If he had been named in the squad, the Europa League clash would have been Ozil's first game in Germany since he controversially retired from international football last year after citing racist discrimination as one of the primary reasons for the decision.
The heart of the matter
Emery has defended his decision to rest Ozil and insisted that he has been left out with their Premier League clash against Aston Villa in mind.
Speaking to reporters, the Spaniard said, as per The Guardian),
"We are playing a lot of matches and I want to use different players, and also have some rotation in the first 11 and the 19 players in the squad for [Frankfurt].
"We are going to play another match on Sunday. My decision is because he played, and I decided who the players are who can be the best for tomorrow, and also the players not, and those are Sokratis and Mesut."
When asked if his decision was due to a possible hostile reception at Commerzbank-Arena, Emery simply replied,
Arsenal will kickstart their European campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt tonight before facing Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.