Unai Emery denies training-ground row with Mesut Ozil
The Spaniard insists that Ozil’s absence during West Ham win was due to illness
Mesut Ozil with Unai Emery after coming off in the defeat to Chelsea. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Arsenal manager Unai Emery denied he had a training-ground row with Mesut Ozil in the build-up to his side’s 3-1 Premier League win over West Ham.
Ozil was not included in the matchday squad for the game at the Emirates Stadium and reports in Brazil suggested it was because of a falling out with Emery on Friday.
However the Spaniard insisted that Ozil’s absence was due to illness and that he was at the stadium on Saturday, where he saw Emery earn a first league win thanks to goals from Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck either side of an Issa Diop own goal.
Emery said: “Why is this information (out there). It isn’t true. I don’t know who is telling you this information.
“He sat down with me and we decided that he would not play. He left training because he was going to his home because he is sick.
“Today he was here, I told him to come in if he feels better and he feels better today and before the match he was with the team.
“He is bad with sickness. There is no problem with the player, speak with the doctor he can explain better.”
They fell behind to Marko Arnautovic’s 26th-minute goal and after Monreal quickly equalised they conceded plenty of chances that West Ham counted the cost of missing.
The Gunners had barely threatened after the break until Diop put through his own net, with Welbeck finishing the job at the death.
Emery added: “We are happy with the first three points, that was the first objective. After the first two results we needed this today, it was important to show our supporters a match with three points.
“It’s clear we need to improve, we will continue working on not conceding as many chances to the opposition.
“They are a good team, a good coach, good players, they caused us problems in the defence. If we defend with more people in the moment we lose an attacking threat. We need to find the balance.”
While Emery got off the mark, West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is still waiting for his first points as this was the third defeat of the season.
There were plenty of positives to take, though, not least the amount of chances they created.
“I am not very happy with the result, but I am very happy with the performance of the team,” the former Manchester City manager said.
“It is what I want from the players to come here to Arsenal’s stadium against a big team and we did well.
“We were unlucky to concede an own goal that put Arsenal on top.
“I am very happy because we are in the correct way and soon we will win more games than we are going to lose.
“We need to have points, but every game we improve a little more.
“We didn’t play well at Liverpool, we improved in at least part of the game against Bournemouth. Today the result is nothing to what happened in the 90 minutes.”