Freddie Ljungberg took Mesut Ozil off against Manchester City and replaced him with 19-year-old Emile Smith Rowe because he wanted more energy in the side.
Mesut Ozil’s number went up in the 59th minute and the German was less than pleased at being replaced with his side 3-0 down and a 19-year-old coming on in his place.
No matter your opinion of Ozil, and regular readers will know I’m a huge fan, his substitution was damning in a game Arsenal were desperate to show some sort of spark and he didn’t take it well.
After the game, Freddie was asked to explain his decision and he did, clearly and concisely.
“But I’m the coach at the moment and I made the decision I wanted more energy in the team. We want possession but sometimes we need to run and tackle and win the ball back. I think Emile did extremely well in Belgium on Thursday, and I wanted to give him a chance. I think he did well when he came on.”
As I discussed in my post after the game, Mesut Ozil is not really wanted at Arsenal, something we’ve known for a long time. Along with a number of other stars, he could well be out of the club by this time next year.
One just wonders what sort of mentality we will see between now and then from the German, having been left isolated by his own club as he took a stand against the persecution of a minority before being replaced in the team by a teenager with his side desperate for any sort of creative spark.
Also speaking after the game, Bernd Leno identified the main thing he believes Arsenal need to change to turn things around on the pitch and he nailed it perfectly.