UNAI EMERY admitted he left Mesut Ozil out of the defeat to West Ham because he didn't think he needed him.
The Arsenal boss deemed the £350,000-a-week star surplus to requirements and therefore did not name him in his matchday squad.
Getty Images6 Mesut Ozil was fully fit but did not even make the squad to play West Ham
Getty Images6 Arsenal boss Unai Emery believed he had selected the right players to get the win at the London Stadium
Both Ozil and the club confirmed he had taken part in full, first-team training this week and was expected to return for the first time since Boxing Day.
But Emery's shock move backfired when Declan Rice scored the only goal of the game at the London Stadium, condemning the Gunners to a third away Premier League defeat in four.
The Arsenal boss said: "We had enough players to win today, to impose our game plan and our tactics and our quality.
"I decided the players who were the best for this match. We’ve won with him, we’ve lost with him.
🏋🏻 #M1Ö #YaGunnersYa pic.twitter.com/KUwtxIBevu
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) January 10, 2019
Full week of team training done ✔💪🏼♥ #M1Ö #YaGunnersYa #COYG @Arsenal pic.twitter.com/fYrJiSq9dR
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) January 11, 2019
"I can say he is working this week normally but like I said we've won with him, we've lost with him and today I think the players I had were the players to win this match.
"We continue to work with every player because every player is important but the decision today was to come with these players. It was enough with these players."
Arsenal fans have not seen the German midfielder since he was dragged off at half-time at Brighton.
But of course this is not the first time Emery has left Ozil out for tactical reasons.
For the game at Bournemouth at the end of November – Arsenal's last away league win – Ozil was named on the bench but did not come on because the game was deemed to "physical" for the playmaker.
Ozil also missed the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Spurs for tactical reasons – and again Arsenal succumbed to a disappointing defeat.
ARSENAL RATINGS Lacazette can hold head up after West Ham defeat, Xhaka and Mustafi struggle
And boy did Arsenal miss their creative spark this afternoon. Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi, unsurprisingly, failed to unlock the West Ham defence and the game was crying out for a touch of flair.
That flair is something Ozil would surely have the quality to deliver but whether he would have done so or not is an entirely different matter.
This latest snub surely throws the German's future into doubt once again.
He is under contract until 2021 but his huge wages will make a move difficult in the summer, let alone this month.
Emery is turning Arsenal into a mediocre side while superstars Ozil and Torreira are being wasted
By Joshua Jones
SURPRISE, surprise there was no Mesut Ozil or Lucas Torreira for Arsenal and surprise, surprise there was once again no cutting edge at the London Stadium.
It was another case of a lethargic opening 45 minutes and things did not get much better after half-time.
Declan Rice’s first West Ham goal – just two days before his 20th birthday – settled this lacklustre game with a neat finish.
Felipe Anderson did well but Arsenal failed to get rid and the young midfielder punished them.
And there was no way back as Arsenal look set to fall further behind the top four later on this weekend.
Their fans have had to get used to slow starts under Unai Emery – who is not doing himself any favours with his team selections, it has to be said.
He has an excellent, talented squad at his disposal, no matter what anyone might say, but he is simply wasting it by leaving some of his best players out.
READ THE FULL VERDICT HERE