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Arsenal boss Unai Emery claims other players are more deserving than Mesut Ozil as he offered a fresh explanation for his ongoing omission.
The German superstar is the Gunners’ highest earner but has made just one appearance in all competitions this season.
He was left out of the squad entirely for their Europa League win over Standard Liege on Thursday night, watching on as his side claimed a 4-0 win with a dominant performance.
Fellow midfielders Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock both got on the scoresheet to rub salt into the wounds – and Emery claimed after the game he has decided other players are more deserving of places in his plans.
But he urged the out-of-favour 30-year-old to continue working in order to get back in his squad ahead of the remainder of the season.
Emery said: “I am thinking every time to decide with the best players for each match and the best players in the squad to play and help us.
When I decided he isn’t in the squad, it is because I think another player deserves it more.
“Sunday we have another match. And we are going to decide the same.
“The best first 11 possible to achieve our target to win on Sunday and also adapt to that difficult of playing Bournemouth. And carry on our way that is the same in each match.”
Gabriel Martinelli struck an impressive double for the Gunners in what was a fine win on home soil.
On the youngster, Emery added: “He prefers to play as a left winger – striker is not the best position for him. But the first thing in his mind is to help us.
“Tonight his performance and his aptitude was amazing. If he continues training with that hunger, I think he is going to do well.”
They will be back in Premier League action at home to Bournemouth on Sunday as they aim to get back to winning ways after being held to a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Monday.
Ozil’s only appearance so far this campaign came in their 2-2 draw with Watford last month.
He was on the bench for their next game with Aston Villa but did not feature in the matchday squad at Old Trafford earlier this week.