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Unai Emery has hinted that Mesut Ozil will be involved in Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Wolves this Saturday after being substituted in yesterday’s Carabao Cup defeat away at Liverpool.
Ozil, 31, had not been included in the Gunners’ last six matchday squads amid reports of a falling out with Emery behind the scenes.
But last night the German midfielder was handed a rare start in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at Anfield, where Jurgen Klopp’s Reds triumphed on penalties after an enthralling 5-5 draw in normal time.
It was an impressive performance from Ozil, who registered a superb assist on the night, leaving Arsenal fans bemused when he was withdrawn with 25 minutes remaining.
Yet Emery has suggested he had Saturday’s league outing against Wolves in mind when making the substitution.
“[Ozil] played as we want, with experience and his skill to help the team,” he said.
“We decided beforehand that it was better for him to have a rest. He worked really well for 65 minutes.
“In my mind is the possibility to use him again [in the Premier League].”
The lottery of spot-kicks were required last night when both teams shared the spoils in a 10-goal thriller on Merseyside.
Shkodran Mustafi’s early own goal gave Liverpool liftoff, before Lucas Torreira and Gabriel Martinelli strikes edged Arsenal ahead after 26 minutes.
Martinelli added another 10 minutes later, but James Milner pulled one back from the penalty spot two minutes before half-time when the striker brought down Harvey Elliott in the box.
A piece of magic from Ozil restored the Gunners’ lead nine minutes into the second half.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles first latched onto a wayward back-pass from Milner, poking the ball past onrushing Reds goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and towards the far post.
Just as it seemed it would go behind for a goal-kick, though, Ozil produced a brilliant back-heel flick with his left foot that allowed Maitland-Niles to make it 4-2.
Unfortunately for the Gunners, a stunning long-range finish from former player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi’s finish from the edge of the box brought Liverpool level, before the latter cancelled out an outstanding Joe Willock strike to take the game to penalties.
And Dani Ceballos’ miss proved costly for Emery’s side, with 18-year-old Reds midfielder Curtis Jones firing in the winning spot-kick.