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Emery rests Ozil despite playing only 71 minutes

 

By Mark Bryans

Unai Emery insists Mesut Ozil needs rest despite playing just 71 minutes of football this season as the Arsenal head coach left the German at home for the Europa League tie with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Ozil, 30, had not featured at all this season until he started Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Watford.

He missed the start of the season after being the target of an attempted carjacking alongside team-mate Sead Kolasinac, while illness also saw him miss out.

He retired from international football with Germany last year amid controversy and, on what would have been his first return to play in the country, he would have no doubt been in for a hostile reception from a fervent Frankfurt crowd.

But Emery offered up the rather bizarre excuse that Ozil was instead being rested alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos - who has played every minute of the opening five Premier League games of the season.

"We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also can have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for tomorrow, and Sokratis and Mesut, they rest this match," he said.

"I prefer after the Sunday match to rest that match and to train and to be ready for Sunday.

"My decision is because he played and also I'm thinking tomorrow the focus and the first 11.

"Really the first match he played on Sunday, he played well and was good physically - also giving us his capacity and skills, and after his first minutes (of the season) it was good for us.

"Now he is ready to help us, not tomorrow but on Sunday."

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