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Unai Emery fired an indirect warning to the rest of the team during weekend’s defeat to Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge.
German Gunner Mesut Ozil was substituted with 22 minutes left a treatment he is not used to, the last time he was taken off in a game Arsenal were not leading was in January 2017 against Burnley, a match they actually went on to win with a stoppage-time penalty.
Ozil who attracted alot of criticism last season was offered a £350,000-a-week deal which smashed the club’s weekly wage structure in January.
Aaron Ramsey has entered the final year of his deal as a battle of wills over his future continues, yet Emery had no fears of complicating this subtext, leaving the Welshman out of his starting line-up at Stamford Bridge.
It is clear the message Emery is sending to his player is that they must earn their status all over again.
With Lucas Torreira, the club’s most expensive of their five summer signings, again restricted to a substitute appearance as Emery search for clarity over his best team and waiting for the entire squad to get up to speed.
Explaining his substitutions against Chelsea, Emery said: “The first change is [Granit] Xhaka because he has a yellow card and it is a risk to continue with him on the pitch.
“And then the other change is [Alex] Iwobi… he is tired and we needed to make a change. The other is Mesut. He works well but we needed to keep more pressing on the pitch.
“I am happy with the players that were substituted. We finished with two midfielders, Matteo [Guendouzi] and Torreira, two young players.”