Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has tonight revealed why he opted to leave Mesut Ozil out of his matchday squad to take on Manchester City.
Man City 3-0 Arsenal
The Gunners travelled to the Etihad a short time ago, as part of the Premier League’s first round of fixtures back following the COVID-19 break.
After Aston Villa and Sheffield United played out a rather drab 0-0 stalemate at Villa Park, attentions turned to Manchester for the evening’s entertainment.
Hosts City understandably headed into proceedings as heavy favourites to emerge victorious, with Pep Guardiola’s men having sat 2nd in the English top-flight table ahead of kick-off.
Arsenal, on the other hand, were languishing in 9th, with the club’s Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
As such, it came as little surprise when, following the full-time whistle, it was the hosts who secured a comfortable 3 points.
A disaster-class from substitute David Luiz cost Arsenal dearly, with the Brazilian having first opened the door for Raheem Sterling to put City in front just before the interval, before being given his marching orders early in the second-half for hauling down Riyad Mahrez.
2015 – David Luiz is the first player to be sent off, concede a penalty and commit an error leading to an opposition goal in a Premier League match since Carl Jenkinson for West Ham vs Bournemouth in August 2015. Hat-Trick. #MCIARS pic.twitter.com/zpLK6yDfxm
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 17, 2020
Kevin De Bruyne stepped up to slot away the ensuing spot-kick in style, before Phil Foden put some gloss on the scoreline with a Sky Blues 3rd in injury-time.
While it was Luiz who grabbed the headlines from an Arsenal perspective over the course of the 90 minutes at the Etihad, though, it was another of the Gunners’ stars who was the main talking point ahead of kick-off.
The individual in question? Mesut Ozil.
Upon Arsenal’s matchday squad being announced prior to kick-off, German playmaker Ozil was nowhere to be seen.
This came despite the allocation of 9 substitutes for the remainder of the Premier League campaign.
We back! 👊
🥁 Introducing your lineup for tonight’s game…#MCIARS
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) June 17, 2020
Speaking prior to the clash getting underway, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed that he would provide an explanation for Ozil’s absence in his post-match interview.
And the Spanish tactician has since done exactly that.
Arteta’s statement, however, has not come in the form of the bombshell that many had no doubt hoped for.
When questioned on his decision to leave Ozil out of his 20-man squad to face City this evening, the Arsenal boss simply cited ‘tactical reasons’:
Arteta on Ozil absence: “It was tactical reasons.”
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) June 17, 2020