Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that Mesut Ozil's absence from their Europa League win over Standard Liege was because other players were more deserving of a starting place.
Ozil has had his playing time significantly reduced at Arsenal since Emery took charge, and with a promising young core emerging, the Spaniard has been keen to give them more minutes. Ozil missed the Gunners' 4-0 win on Thursday as a result.
"When I decided he shouldn't be in the squad it's because I think other players deserved it more," Emery said, as reported by the BBC. "He needs to continue working. Tomorrow we have training with the players who didn't play, and on Sunday we have another match - and we are going to decide the same.
"Our target is to win on Sunday against Bournemouth and we want to carry on our same way in each match."
The German was absent from the Arsenal squad that travelled to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night and, when asked for a reason behind the snub then, Emery said: "He is not here today. Today I decided the first eleven and the squad."
It seems the same applied for Thursday night's clash with Liege, with 20-year-old midfielder Joe Willock chosen ahead of the World Cup winner in position behind the striker.
Though Willock did indeed repay the faith shown in him by his manager to nab the third goal on the night, the headlines had already been stolen by 18-year-old Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli, who nabbed a brace in the opening stages before providing the assist for Dani Ceballos' first goal for the club.
"They [the youngsters] are close to playing for us at the highest levels," Emery said. "They showed they can perform and they can score. They are playing well, it's good."
The club have been looking to offload Ozil since the end of last year, though his £350,000-a-week contract has kept suitors at bay.
It was understood that Ozil was the subject of interest from Turkish side Istanbul Başakşehir in the summer, but a move to the Europa League outfit failed to materialise.