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Unai Emery has revealed that he decided to leave Mesut Ozil at home for Arsenal’s clash with Eintracht Frankfurt so the midfielder will be well rested and ‘ready’ to face Aston Villa at the weekend.
Ozil, 30, made his first appearance of the season away to Watford at the weekend, managing 71 minutes of the 2-2 draw before being replaced by Reiss Nelson at Vicarage Road.
The German joined the rest of his team-mates in training ahead of Thursday’s Europa League opener, but did not fly to Frankfurt on Wednesday afternoon.
Emery has also given Sokratis Papastathopoulos a rest, with the Greek defender playing every minute of Arsenal’s Premier League campaign so far this term.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s match with Frankfurt, Emery explained: ‘We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also can have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad.
‘Sokratis and Mesut they rest this match. ‘I prefer after Sunday’s match [for Ozil] to rest and train and to be ready for Sunday [against Aston Villa].’
Emery was impressed with Ozil’s performance against Watford and believes the playmaker is ready to play a bigger role for Arsenal.
‘We are going to play another match on Sunday,’ Emery added. ‘My decision is because he played [at Watford] and also I’m thinking about Thursday, with the focus on the first 11, and after that I decided who are the players who can be the best for Thursday.
The players [who are] not is Sokratis and Mesut.’ ‘The first match he [Ozil] played on Sunday he played good physically, also giving us his capacity and skills.
‘His first minutes for us were good and now he is ready to help us, not on Thursday, but Sunday. On Thursday we are thinking to do some rotation.’