Former Arsenal defender Mathew Upson has said that Gunners boss Unai Emery took a bold step to bench Mesut Ozil for the weekend Premier League triumph at Bournemouth. The north London side were expecting a tough trip to the South Coast on Sunday and in order to curb the attacking threat, Emery went with a 3-4-3 formation which worked with good effect.

However, with that setup, it meant that one of the attackers had to be dropped and the Spaniard revealed after the game that Ozil was excluded from the starting XI as he would not have been able to match to the physical demands on the day. In a report by The Star, Upson happened to praise Emery for the decision but also suggested that the manager has provided a big statement by doing so.

He said:“Arsenal’s 3-4-3 formation fitted pretty much everyone who was in their team on Sunday – but the one person it might not suit is Ozil, who was an unused substitute at the Vitality Stadium. Ozil is Arsenal’s best number 10, but there is no number 10 when you play in this shape. The question is whether Emery is willing to play him elsewhere in his midfield. It’s a big statement for your manager to say that an experienced player like him is not up to playing in a match like this one.”

Ozil has found form between October and early November but he went into the international break with a rather forgettable performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers at home. Nonetheless, with no international duties under his belt, the German would have expected to start at the Vitality Stadium and his exclusion certainly came as a huge surprise for the club’s faithful.

Both Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were disappointing with their performances in the attacking midfield positions and the latter in particular was severely criticised on social media after producing a poor showing on both sides of the field.