West Ham: Hammer Time

I don’t know about you but there’s nothing better than matchday for taking your mind off the week’s trials and tribulations.

And then you find out we’re wearing that mint green monstrosity. Still, it can’t get worse, can it? Sorry, Mustafi’s fit, you say…

I jest. About the Mustafi bit, anyway. To be honest, any fit central defender is our best option. I suspect, on that subject, Mavropanos is still a couple of weeks from first-team football and will be on the bench to begin with if standard operating procedure is followed.

The pair and the other four whose return to training was trumpeted this week, are like new signings. Cynicism surfacing so young in the post; barely one hundred words in…

It’s a big match, a warm-up for more testing times in coming weeks. That isn’t lost on Unai Emery. West Ham will get our respect, he declared, after stating:

I know that Saturday will be a difficult match because we need to impose our ideas but also for 90 minutes, we need to control their players and their tactical ideas.

Back-to-back wins over Fulham and Blackpool might not sound much after the drubbing at Liverpool, but psychologically, they quickly repaired some of the damage wrought by three defeats – and that third one in particular – in five games.

Three points today draws us into the top four reckoning, into fourth if we hammer the Hammers by seven goals or more…

The most important returning players are Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. Emery spoke about wing-backs being central to his philosophy.

[Wing-backs] can go outside, keeping wide and going deep for the last attacking moment. But also it’s very important for every team, and for us as well, for them to defensively and tactically have quality.

I Spy With My Little Eye

Monreal may not return as a wing-back, of course. If Mustafi isn’t ready, I’d trust the Spaniard more than Lichtsteiner in the centre of defence for this fixture.

Bellerin’s return brings balance to both defence and attack, as the younger of the Spanish pair, is returning to the sort of form which brought him praise in the first place.

At the other end of the pitch, the biggest decision of all must be made. Lacazette and Aubameyang or just the latter? The waters are muddied by Mesut Ozil’s return. I am far from convinced the German will start but with Lacazette and Aubameyang? At home, maybe but in a derby where players will have to stand up and be counted? Not a chance, surely?

However, Emery is a man of surprises and this certainly would be one. Iwobi is not everyone’s cup of tea but provides a promising pairing on the right with Bellerin, Aubameyang filling the left-hand attacking role.

Assuming, of course, Guendouzi doesn’t play with a flat-back four. I don’t think that scenario happens; Emery speaking about wing-backs and then not using them is a level above the Bielsa spying technique. I wonder if the Met will be investigating the unexpected surge in stepladder sales every time we play Watford?

All of which paranoid meanderings bring us to an XI of sorts:

Leno; Mustafi (Monreal), Sokratis, Koscielny; Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Monreal (Kolasinac); Iwobi, Lacazette, Aubameyang

With kick-off close, we’ll call it a day. It’s a team good enough to win, to add their name to the list of good performances at West Ham.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.


114 thoughts on “West Ham: Hammer Time

  1. I believe that’s four days on the spin as the first commentator on this fine site.
    Wad d’ya mean so what?…..sheesh.
    A fine day to one and all…..let’s give ‘em a smashing today….and see Torreira put Nasri in his pocket.

  2. Leno, Koscielny, Papastathopoulos, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette

    Subs: Cech, Bellerín, Ramsey, Torreira, Lichtsteiner, Monreal, Nketiah

  3. On this date, the 6th August 1966, West Ham Utd faced Arsenal in a Division 1 fixture at Upton Park.

    This was a return fixture after ‘The Reds’ defeated the Hammers 2-1 the previous week at Highbury in front of a 40,533 crowd. A match, the match programme tells us, in which the ‘during the second half the very large proportion of Hammers’ supporters literally swamped the cheers of the homesters followers with a roar that greatly encouraged our side’.

    Their Metropolitan League side featured Brooking and the older Lampard while a certain Harry Redknapp played in the Under 19’s Tournament organized by the Zurich Blue Stars, losing to Manchester Utd. in the final.

    For our American readers, their list of trophies included the ‘American International League’ Winners 1963 and The ‘American Challenge Cup’ Runners-up. Two competitions of which I have never heard. Perhaps someone can enlighten us?

    Elsewhere, two pages of the programme are devoted to cricket. Yes, really, with summaries of the performances of all the Hammers’ players who played for County and other teams. There is a lovely picture of Mrs W.G. Tullett, ‘wife of the East Saxons Cricket Club President, handing the Summerfield cup to the victorious Hammers’ cricket team.’ We also learn that ex player Ron Tindall has ‘decided to leave County Cricket to concentrate on football and now plays for Portsmouth. Surrey will be giving him a testimonial match ‘next season’.

    Another Old Boy of note mentioned is Dave Sexton ‘..who recently joined Arsenal in a coaching capacity.’

    Apparently one could still buy World Cup Final programmes from the Football Association for 3s. 3d. (I still have two myself).

    The Arsenal side that day was: Furnell, Court, Storey, McLintock, Ure, Neill, Skirton, Baldwin, Radford, Sammels, Armstrong.

    The West Ham side included Moore, Peters and Hurst the three member sof England’s World Cup winning team from that summer.

    Here is yesterday’s football result: West Ham Utd 2 Arsenal 2

  4. Seems UE has called for our ‘low pressing’ game today. Either that or we’re conserving energy for the second half goal spree.

  5. Emery needs to fire a few up , or get em off.
    Without Terrier Xhaka looks ponderous. Don’t think Guendouzi is making enough space for his outballs…i.e. Xhaka doesn’t trust his first ,or often second, touch. Unlike Lucas who always seems to create space with his.

  6. From what I see we are dependent on Kol getting in behind which is fine…but that is it
    AMN not dangerous
    Asking Matteo in 2 midfield to be creative is asking a lot
    I still don’t get why Ozil is not starting behind the 2 strikers
    Iwobi is doing ok but is he really better at making chances?
    Anyway COYG!!!!

  7. What a surprise
    Mustafi sliding in recklessly
    Looks great when he wins the ball…but when he doesn’t not so much

  8. Maybe it will just take time…
    Trying a delicate header out of defence in spirit of playing out of defence …
    Was it Kol or Xhaka?
    Who cares?
    Not Koscielny though as commentator blamed

  9. G4E,

    Agreed – gone is the team fizz and bubble of earlier games this season.

    Ah – Torreira and Ramsey coming on.

  10. G4E,

    Agreed – gone is the team fizz and bubble of earlier games this season.

    Good – Torreira and Ramsey coming on.

  11. Something’s not right in this squad at the moment. I wonder if the Ozil situation – whatever it’s actual nature – isn’t upsetting their sense of collective purpose.

  12. This is a lacklustre performance. They are making an average team look good. Slipshod passing and blunt up front. Midfield reliant on sweat rather than guile.

    Not enjoying this view of our foreseeable future .

  13. Nasri was better than any of our players on the pitch.

    I wonder what beer and newspapers our strikers prefer?

  14. Of course 3 at the back really shores up our defence so its truly worth completely killing off our attacking guile for…………………………………………….

  15. Our players know how good ozil’s brain is… Esp laca and auba… You could see the frustration in them by the lack of possession control behind em which does not give them time to adj their runs… We good up until we got into their half and then the lack of intelligence showed

  16. Makes one wonder.

    Its all very well being “tough” and “showing who’s boss”, but if you are seen to be being unfair and unreasonable and acting at the expense of the team then you’re likely to fuck up morale whilst you’re busy “making your point”.

  17. Shitty performance all around………Results starting to unravel and the 22 unbeaten run now looks like nothing more than just the usual run for a new manager.

    We starting to loose more away to small and big teams, you don’t even deserve 4th with this kind of record.

    There are 2 things here that I think have a big impact on the short and long term with this club.

    1. Short Term: Unai must resolve the issue with Ozil immediately. Either set up the team and style of play around him, or sell him. I think some of the players may like to see him play because he provide them with chances. Ozil will never defend in any meaningful way, we all know that. If Emery can’t accept and work with that, then Ozil needs to go and quickly.

    2. Long Term: With the current owner style of ownership and business model. He will spend no money of his own, he will take no small or big risks ever, and that style in this Football era is doomed to fail, at most we will be a Europa League team for a long long time.

    In the current state of affairs, we can only win the league if the 5 teams ahead of us all have a shitty season at the same time.

    Good Luck with that.

    ***

    I’m actually going to watch Liverpool, we ridiculed them in the past but at least they got things right.

    I know it’s our first season with new manager, but it seems we always defeat ourselves somehow. Maybe I’m extra pissed off about the result, but there is always some extra drama associated with this club.

    I love Arsenal, but I hate everything about how it’s run. The club cannot sustain itself and achieve a higher status without a huge investment, Stan is just happy to make any profit so long as it’s guaranteed……for now.

    End of Rant……….Wish you all a better rest of the Weekend.

  18. What I wonder is, how some managers seem to get more from less. Pellegrini, for instance.

    Why some teams can play above their seeming level, West Ham for instance.

  19. We played above our talent level during the 22 game win streak and now we coming back to a realistic level. The same thing happened every season during the Wenger era. The squad that Arsene left doesn’t have the talent to be a top 4 side.

  20. MikeSA:
    Makes one wonder.

    Its all very well being “tough” and “showing who’s boss”, but if you are seen to be being unfair and unreasonable and acting at the expense of the team then you’re likely to fuck up morale whilst you’re busy “making your point”.

    Agree.

  21. G4E

    Ozil has 1 assist this season and that is a continuation of the downward trend in his effectiveness that we have seen for the last 2 years. If he had been creating chances last season and earlier this season then I suspect Emery would be using him.

  22. consolsbob,

    I just don’t know old friend, I’m really mad and sad at the same time.

    Maybe I just need to convince myself Arsenal is a long term plan, but I’m just not buying it.

  23. Bill,

    Then I think he needs to go Bill. Can’t have a player like that in the squad. He’s still a big name and he will create negative effect on the team in the news all the time until he’s gone.

  24. PEA can’t score in every game. Someone else has to step up and be the secondary scorer and we need another winger who can give us some consistent end product and if Mkhitaryan is not the answer then we probably need to buy a better attacking central midfielder

  25. G4E,

    Why would he create negative effect? Was he on the pitch today? Has he complained publicly about UE’s attitude? Was he negative against Burnley? Who’s negative today: a player who was let out or the coach who f*** up the squad?

    Stats are great, Bill, i thought you didn’t like them. Remember Burnley, mate… Burnley.

  26. He may have one assist but he created the other chances. Again, you purely look at assists and sure that is part of his game but he passes and has vision nobody else in this squad had and we lack creativity without him. Honestly, we can’t defend anyways so lets just attack.

    My mate Bill will look at 1 assist but forget things like the pass to Sead that created the goal, the dummy against Leicester, that pass to Bellerin. Our squad is no longer solely reliant on Ozil’s assists but they are reliant on a player who can create space centrally and dictate in the final third.

  27. Bill,

    Mate, futbol isn’t purely about stats. Sure we all jse them but there is so much more to futbol than that. We lack creativity and more importantly we lacked today somebody able and capable of picking a pass.

  28. Agree the unbeaten run was down to a new manager boost, which does not last forever. Now, the last season’s problems are back, like the bad away form and inexplicable off-days .

    I would like to give the manager a few sessons to have an impact. I doubt he’ll have this luxiory though.

    I think we need another project youth and acceptance of a middle table status to sort out the club. Can Emery do this job?

  29. Alex,

    There is always something in the news about why Ozil is not playing, and the rift with the manager, and both may have a point.

    But when you are building a new team, you don’t need this kind of drama.

    Yes, Ozil was not playing today….But that is the problem, and when did he play last? What’s his use for the team if he’s not playing?

  30. The team looked lifeless today. Which is sad bc several of them have had a wk and a half off. They look like a group in need of a lift (via a signing) and definitely didn’t receive that with emery’s comments about ‘loaning players’. Loads of standing around, looking at each other, lost.

  31. Wouldn’t be surprised if there is some disharmony in the squad. Playing or not of course some will be pissed that there’s a player earning three or four times what they do and contributing the square root of fuck all – not that he can if he’s not playing anyway. It’s human nature. Then there’s the Ramsey contract, players will be thinking what happens when my contract is up for renegotiation? Add in the fact that players just like the fans will be only too aware that the club is being run by a guy who has no interest in winning things, if you’ve got any ambition why would you be happy with that?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the fans turn on Kroenke again before the end of the season.

  32. Alex

    Goal scored and assists are meaningful stats because they indicate end product. You can’t misinterpret those stats. The stats I don’t like are the nebulous stats such as tackles, passes completed chances created

  33. andy1886,

    Or perhaps the disharmony is that we have a world class creative player who Emery’s ego is waging a war against at the cost of the team.

  34. I wanted a tougher manager to demand more physically and tactically from our players. But what is the plan here? Emery doesn’t seem to know what he should do with these players. But above all I am disappointed by how our defense is so weak and disorganized.

    Pellegrini has organized WH better than Emery has Arsenal.

  35. Plenty of blame to go around. Raul/Emery/Sven have goofed on the Ramsey situation. Emery mishandling Ozil situation to some degree at least (has to be on the bench instead of Lichtie—you don’t need three defenders on the bench when playing a back 3 CB against a lower table side, which is ultra cautious anyway imo). And KSE has not backed Emery with players.

    We are a top 6 side in transition. Just changing the manager was not going to make us automatically drastically better.

  36. MikeSA,

    Is it not fair to say that at this point we simply don’t know whether UE is at war with Ozil or Ozil is indeed nursing a strange, lingering injury, or some third option? The one thing that is clear in the situation is that we are being kept well away from the whole story, which itself suggests difficulties beyond mere injury (barring ego injury of course). I find this systemic ‘fanignorance’ very frustrating, but it seems to go with the territory in all clubs to some degree or other. But in the absence of better evidence of what’s going on, I withhold judgment and focus it on what I CAN witness first hand, which is team and player performance.

    (I don’t mean to offer advice or a lecture on when to judge, etc. – I’m probably talking to myself, as after performances like ‘Pool and today, I’m sorely tempted to pick a narrative and judge from here to Timbuktu!)

  37. MikeSA,

    You could argue that Mike but let’s be honest he hasn’t been producing for a long time now, before Emery arrived even. Remember, all these injuries and sickness bugs were going on during Wenger’s last season as well. Facts are that over the last two seasons Ramsey scored AND provided more assists than Ozil.

    Let’s be honest, how many great games has he had recently? Not many that I can recall. Maybe he was world class at one time but the actual facts wouldn’t support that claim any more.

  38. Saa: Agree.

    Something possibly to this. If we lose to Chelsea without playing Torreira from start and Ozil at least on the bench, Emery could lose some of the authority he seems to be making a big point to claim for himself.

  39. andy1886,

    No but why not have him on bench to try to create something for your two strikers at the end. That’s a gaffe. Why have Lichtie on the bench rather than Ozil?!?!

  40. I actually think the problem simply lies with what we already knew, some of the players simply aren’t good enough and Emery has a plan but I don’t think some of the players have fully bought in and with that comes them falling back into old habits. In midfield, we have players that work but do we have a player capable and able of picking that pass to create for others? Sure but he doesn’t always do the defensive stuff and Ramsey is a player that gets on the ends of moves but doesn’t dictate the attack which are different things.

  41. consolsbob:
    What I wonder is, how some managers seem to get more from less. Pellegrini, for instance.

    This is what I was getting at regarding Pellegrini with WH. He’s organized them well, gotten more from the players there in many ways than Emery is. He’s an attacking coach but gas his team defending well. We didn’t pepper Fabisnski’s goal.

    Why some teams can play above their seeming level, West Ham for instance.

  42. So Emery claims that the squad he selected for West Ham had enough to beat them………..except they didn’t, so they didn’t.

    His was a judgement call.

    The result however, is a fact.

    So he was wrong.

  43. Emery has been over relying on Guendouzi for a while. Torreira made the midfield play much better. Recovered the ball better, moved it forward faster.

  44. Xhaka-Guendouzi is just not a solid combination and it is too much to ask Guendouzi to play every week and carry so much responsibility his first season in PL at 19.

  45. andy1886,

    Well, if one of the prime attacking players this season makes a clear statement in an interview that he made a run that led to the assist for the goal purely on the basis that he saw Ozil had the ball, what do you think is the more likely attitude in the squad?

    1. That they hate him because he earns a lot (so do they), or
    2. They see that the team lacks creativity without him?

  46. LSG,

    Yes, I agree, I would have at least put him on the bench.

    Truth be told this squad needs more than a little tinkering around the edges, it needs the sort of clear out that Stan simply will not fund. And based on the evidence so far I’m not convinced that our new fangled recruitment team will be up to finding the sort of rough diamonds that we need to do that on the cheap. Torreira looks decent but let’s not go overboard just yet. Other than that the latest recruits are all a bit ‘meh’.

  47. MikeSA,

    Bit of a stretch to draw any conclusions based on a single statement from one player. Be realistic, nobody is going to come out in public and say that they’re irritated with the pay structure are they? Can you seriously say that those sort of jealousies aren’t part of every single work place? Of course you can’t blame Ozil for taking the money but that deal wan’t even remotely justified based on actual performances.

  48. LSG,

    I tend to disagree, you see the style but I think it comes down to undoing the past whilr making sure players full buy into the game plan. I do think we have missed Bellerin and Ozil but the question must be asked: is there a plan and the players struggle to implement it?

  49. andy1886,

    I’m sure they wouldn’t come out with a complaint like that, but then you wouldn’t get a positive quote at all then, would you?

    On the face of it, there is at least one piece of hard evidence to support my theory.

    Yours?

    I suspect “workplace jealousies” are more the domain of people who resent footballers earning huge wages, not amongst the players who already earn big money anyway.

  50. MikeSA,

    Mike, half of what players come out with in interviews is a load of bollocks. They have media training these days, they know what they’re expected to say. Just because one player makes a positive comment about another doesn’t mean they all love him. Read pretty much any player autobiography and you’ll see that behind closed doors there is all the usual sniping and backstabbing that you’d find in any workplace anywhere. You don’t know what the dynamic is anymore than I do, it’s all speculation.

    I completely understand that you’re a big fan of Ozil, but to claim that Emery is “waging war” with the player because of his “ego” is just as much mere opinion as anything else. Fact is we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes and probably never will.

  51. Passes completed is probably the most misleading stats in football. It make players like Elneny and xhaka look world class

    Chances created is also highly mesleading. La Liga is know as a technical league and Lucas Perez was the second leading chance creator last season and and he doesn’t even play much for west ham.

  52. We have debated the merits of Jack Wilshere and Lucas Perez a lot over the years. Jack didn’t make the bench, not sure if he is injured. Perez at least makes the bench but does no get any minutes.

  53. andy1886,

    That’s true.

    There is more than likely something going on though, because only a complete idiot would leave one of their superstars completely out of the squad and select a squad based on ” the players that deserved to play” despite having absolutely zero creativity and guile and losing to a side you’re expected to beat, purely on a whim?

    Personally, I’ll go with the control freak manager trying to make a point (badly), than the squad hating a player who they seem to respect and like based on interviews, discussions, pictures, etc.

  54. If we are going to look for correlations then I am surprised no one has suggested that losing Mkhitaryan hurt. I don’t believe that anymore then I think dropping ozil is the problem. The real issue is we are what we are which is a 5th-6th place team and now we are playing like what we are. 6th place teams lose games away at west ham.

  55. Everyone was excited by the unbeaten streak but that is not who we are. The same sort of thing has happened every year in this decade. The team has been poorly managed for the entire decade and you can’t turn that around instantly

  56. C,

    I think missing Bellerin and earlier when Kola and Monreal were out has hampered our play out wide. But what exactly is the plan? Why do we always start poorly? Why is there no clear organization defensively? Why play Xhaka and Guendouzi who are very similar midfield players but leave out Torreira who can help recover the ball and start attacks better than either?

    I think Emery hasn’t figured out this league yet, which is understandable, and still learning what these players can do.

  57. Saying we can only take players on loan has really disheartened everyone. Maybe even the players. Emery probably would have been more vague and diplomatic in Spanish. And maybe he would be able to explain the Ozil situation better.

    But I don’t think so. He is more blunt and plain spoken generally I think.

  58. LSG: Something possibly to this.If we lose to Chelsea without playing Torreira from start and Ozil at least on the bench, Emery could lose some of the authority he seems to be making a big point to claim for himself.

    I think it has been mentioned here before about neymar thing… And possibly playing out the same with Ozil and Emery is determined to ensure it doesn’t…. Although I do think the start to the season his got should earn him some space to make his decisions/learn about his team and all that … It’s still early to burn him at the stake…. Saying all this though I still think though today anyone who watched that match could see it was crying out for a Ozil

  59. LSG:
    Xhaka-Guendouzi is just not a solid combination and it is too much to ask Guendouzi to play every week and carry so much responsibility his first season in PL at 19.

    Limestone

    Guendouzzi has followed the exact same path as almost all of the u21 that we have used in high leverage minutes over the last 10 years. He starts off really full of adrenaline and everyone gets excited about the next great player and once the early adrenaline wears he hits a plateau that does not match the hype. This is why I have been saying it’s almost always a mistake to count on U21 players to be effective regulars in our high leverage games. The idea that everything about our youth players would change once Emery came on board was never realistic.

  60. Bill,

    Genuine question….are somebody that thinks if a player struggles or doesn’t make it in the PL then they are not as good as people say they are?

  61. C

    The answer is yes. We are Arsenal fans and this is an Arsenal blog. When we talk about how good a player is or isn’t the assumption is always going to be related to how good he would be playing for Arsenal. In 11 years of blogging I have never once heard someone say that player x is really a good player but probably not good enough to make it at Arsenal or in the PL

  62. C

    I had not really thought about interceptions as a stat in futbol. Perhaps more predictive of good defensive play then tackles but it might be just like in the NFL and the best cornerbacks are usually not leading the league in interceptions because opposing teams don’t throw the ball to their side as much.

    One more thought on previous question. When we talk about how good one of academy players is going to be my assumption is always that refers to how good he will be in an Arsenal shirt rather then good he will be on mid level team in the English Championship or playing somewhere in Turkey.

  63. A player like Bellerin might get a lot more interceptions then Nacho because the other team targets the right side of our defense because its our weak spot. Same with Clichy and Sagna back in the day.

    The reason I think league goals and assists as important stats is because they are much less prone to misinterpretation.

  64. Another reason interceptions might be misleading is a player might be taking to many risks trying to intercept a pass. If he misses the interception then the opposition is given a lot of free space to counterattack whereas if he held his position and stopped the ball there would be no counterattack. Same thing is true with an NFL cornerback. If he tries to jump a route and misses then his team is in trouble because that cornerback is no longer in position to make the tackle on his receiver.

  65. A lot of the stats in futbol are nebulous and subjective and they depend on who is recording the stats. In fact, everything about the way futbol is officiated is much more subjective then almost every other major sport in the world. Nearly every penalty and many of the fouls that are called are controversial and could go a different way with a different ref or a different day. That’s why the futbol refs get so much undeserved grief because they have an impossible job. Almost every call in futbol is every bit as subjective as pass interference in the NFL. Most of the deeper secondary stats in futbol other then goals scored and assists are subject to misinterpretation depending on predetermined bias.

    The sport where the really deeper level stats are extremely valuable and much less prone to misinterpretation is baseball.

  66. I think futbol is the only sport in the world where a players intent is supposed to be part of the equation for some of the calls a ref makes. Sometime the intent seems obvious enough but in reality no ref will ever be a mind reader and there is absolutely no possible way to accurately judge a players intent correctly on a consistent basis.

  67. We have talked about this before but I think “chance created” is one of the stats whose importance is most easily misinterpreted. Deciding what is a chance created can be highly subjective and altered by predetermined bias. If you are passing the ball around midfield and you roll the ball to a teammate and he takes a shot that has very little chance of scoring then you have created a chance but not improved the teams chances of scoring a goal. Same with a player who runs out of other ideas and lobs in cross against a team that is organized and parking the bus. In that scenario any player who touches the ball a lot in the final 1/3 is always going to create a lot of chances but he is not really creating the opportunities that will improve his teams chance of scoring.

    Unless you teams goal scorers are incompetent if you are creating good chances and then you will logically get assists. In the last couple of seasons we have had quality finishers on the squad so if an Arsenal player is creating a lot of chances but not getting assists then the only logical explanation is the passes that a vast majority of the passes that are being recorded as a chance created are not really legitimate scoring chances. That’s why I think assists give a much more accurate indication then “chance created” in telling you how much positive influence a player is providing

  68. I copied and pasted these post match quotes from emery.

    on Mesut Ozil’s absence…
    We had enough players to win today and impose our gameplan, and impose our tactical quality against them. We also respect them and they have good players. With their supporters here, they feel stronger. Maybe for the bench, some attacking players could have helped. But I think we had enough with these players.

    on why he didn’t use Ozil…
    We decided that the players here were the best for this match. We’ve won with him, we’ve lost with him. No one player makes the difference between winning and losing the game.

    on understanding the interest in Ozil not being in squad…
    Yes, but I can say he’s working with us normally this week. Like I said to you, we’ve won and lost with him. Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could have won or lost, like we can with him. We continue working with every player because they are all important, but today the decision was to come with these players.

    The comments certainly put to bed any ideas that Ozil’s absense is injury related. I understand why we would disagree with anything Arsene said or did but we have to give Emery the benefit of the doubt at least for a while. He is an experienced manager and clearly wants to give his team the best chance to win and I am sure he watches plenty of film and understands the game. The best conclusion is Emery believes having Ozil in the squad does not improve our chances of winning.

  69. Bill,

    I think he clearly was fit but not picked by Emery. However, not having him on the bench as I suggested above was kind of foolish, imo. If he really thinks it more important to have Lichti on the bench when you already have Nacho and Bellerin, that is really damning and means Emery just wants to push Ozil out of the club because he doesn’t think he can contribute anything.

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