Unai Emery insists Mesut Ozil is currently undeserving of a place in his Arsenal squad as the Gunners saw off Standard Liege in their Europa League clash on Thursday night.
Ozil, the highest-paid player in the history of the club, was once again left out of the matchday squad as Gabriel Martinelli hit a brace in a 4-0 Group F victory.
The 18-year-old scored twice in three first-half minutes before laying on Dani Ceballos to score his first goal for the club, Joe Willock having already added the third.
Emery made 10 alterations from the side that drew at Manchester United on Monday night with Ozil not making the matchday squad on either occasion.
The 30-year-old has had a difficult relationship with Emery since his appointment last summer and the Spaniard’s claims that he was not as deserving as a place in his side on Thursday night is the latest suggestion Ozil could be moved on sooner rather than later.
“I am thinking every time to decide the best players for each match and the best players in the squad to play and to help us,” Emery replied when asked about Ozil’s omission.
“When I decided he shouldn’t be in the squad it’s because I think other players deserved it more.
“He needs to continue working. Tomorrow we have training with the players who didn’t play, and on Sunday we have another match, and we are going to decide the same.
“Our target is to win on Sunday against Bournemouth, and we want to carry on our same way in each match.”
On a positive night for the Gunners, Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin – who captained the side – all came through 90 minutes as they continued their comebacks from injury.
Bellerin battled back from a nine-month lay-off with a serious knee injury to skipper the side on his first start since January and was proud to lead out the team.
“There’s not a better way to come back,” he said.
“I feel very honoured to wear the Arsenal armband and lead the team out. It’s been a tough road for me over the past eight months but I feel very luck to have had my players, family and friends around me.
“It was a great win for the team, the spirit and the momentum we’re building. This competition is really important.
“Even when we are three or four up, we want to keep giving everything. We can take a lot of positives to keep improving.”
Standard Liege head coach Michel Preud’homme had pre-empted a strong showing from Arsenal’s young talent and was left frustrated by his own side’s performance.
“We showed them too much respect,” he said.
“They were quicker than us all over the pitch and we lacked aggression.”