Unai Emery lifts the lid Mesut Ozil substitution in Arsenal’s draw at Brighton
The Arsenal manager opens up about his reasoning behind replacing Mesut Ozil at half-time in Brighton on Wednesday
Unai Emery has stressed that his decision to substitute Mesut Ozil at half-time was purely tactical after Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw with Brighton on Wednesday evening.
The German midfielder started his 12th Premier League game of the season when the north London side made the short trip to Brighton on Boxing Day in pursuit of successive Premier League victories.
Arsenal made the breakthrough in the seventh minute thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal but Brighton were level in the 35th minute after Jurgen Locadia’s goal.
Ozil touched the ball a mere 32 times in the first half and finished with just 23 accurate passes before Emery opted to replace the World Cup winner at the break.
The Arsenal manager hasn’t been afraid to haul off Ozil in the Premier League this season, despite the 30-year-old being the best paid player at the north London club.
Ozil has been linked with a move to Germany or Turkey over the past few months since Emery took over the reins of the club from Arsene Wenger in the summer.
Emery, though, was keen to emphasis that Ozil’s substitution was purely tactical as Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw with Brighton at Amex Stadium on Boxing Day.
“It was tactical,” Emery told BT Sport. “It’s the same every match.
“Sometimes I change it tactically when I need something to change.”
The Arsenal boss was also unhappy with the north London side’s second-half performance at Brighton.
“I’m a little disappointed. I think the first half was key in the match. We started winning and had another two chances, and they saved from [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang,” Emery added.
“We didn’t concede [many] chances for them but they drew level. Second half we could not impose our game plan. We did not make more clear chances to win the match.
“It’s our process, we are leaving one process with the team. We can continue in our way with this point. It would be better if we won but I think the team worked well.
“If we scored our chances in the first half we could have won. In the second half we couldn’t impose our game.”
Arsenal signed Ozil in a £42.5m deal from Real Madrid in 2013.