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Mikel Arteta insists that it is ‘difficult’ for Mesut Ozil to be picked for Arsenal at the moment as he is picking the players in the ‘best condition’.
The Arsenal manager left Ozil out of the squad that beat Leicester City 2-0 in the Carabao Cup and is yet to select him for any of their Premier League fixtures this season.
Ozil is the club’s highest-paid player and has insisted he will not be leaving Arsenal this summer, despite being continually snubbed by Arteta.
Arteta has always played down his continued absence and simply claims that other players are in front of Ozil in the pecking order.
‘You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it’s very difficult every week not for Mesut but for some other players as well to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.’ said Arteta.
‘I’m really happy with the performance here, how difficult they’re making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.
‘It’s difficult for others as well that aren’t involved in the Premier League and didn’t play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we can’t give playing time to all of them.
‘Of course I understand and I respect your questions but I have to try to do my job as fair as possible. I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition.
‘The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving. This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better. We need to keep maintaining that.’
An own goal from Christian Fuchs and a late poachers effort from Eddie Nketiah did enough to secure the win for the Gunners, who could face Liverpool in the next round.
‘I’m really happy with the performance, especially the attitude,’ added Arteta. ‘The senior players really took the lead.
He would not give much away about the futures of Reiss Nelson, who almost scored from distance against Leicester, and Lucas Torreira. On Nelson, who is linked with a loan move, he said: ‘He played really well.
“We don’t discuss the things that are happening [with regards to his future].’ He added on Torreira: ‘I’m not making decisions on players who might leave or stay. It’s the players in the best condition.’