Arsenal were back to their best in Europe on Thursday night after with long-term absentee Mesut Ozil leading the charge. This begs the question – what has Unai Emery been playing at?
The Gunners surprise defeat at the hands of Belarussian outfit BATE Borisov last week was a bitterly disappointing result. The players were poor, the performance was woeful, and Emery’s tactics were questionable at best.
Indeed, had it been a more accomplished side returning to the Emirates to defend their lead, Arsenal’s European dreams could have been all but over.
As it is, the home side just had too much on the day.
An own goal from BATE Borisov’s Zakhar Volkov was followed by a powerful Shkodran Mustafi header to put Emery’s men in the lead heading into half-time, and the tie was all wrapped up when Sokratis headed home Xhaka’s corner from close-range.
Everyone played exceptionally well, but we’d like to point out the performance from Mesut Ozil who finally made a return to the first team after a long and ambiguous break.
Despite Arsenal hitting a minor blip of late, Emery has still seen it fit to exile his star player from the first team, largely to the Gunners’ behest. The German showed just how good he can be last night, floating in and out of space elegantly and creating dangerous plays from nothing.
To see a player of his quality relegated to the bench by Emery is a real shame, and we hope for Arsenal’s sake that this isn’t an ill-informed move on the part of their manager.
Last night showed just how good he can be. Surely it’s time for the manager to give the German more of a prevalent role in the team going forward? If he can perform as well as he did on Thursday, he could yet have a big role to play. Questions must be asked of the boss, at least.
Emery – a villain in this case?