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Unai Emery praises “skilful” Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal return

Mesut Ozil, Unai Emery, Arsenal, Liverpool, Carabao Cup
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Unai Emery praised Mesut Ozil’s strong return to action for Arsenal following their “crazy” penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.

Despite a sluggish start, Ozil soon rediscovered his A-game to become one of Arsenal’s main threats going forward. He pressed forward for Emery’s men and cut the Liverpool defence to shreds, at times, with some slick passes.

The former Real Madrid playmaker’s backheel flick allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to hand Arsenal a 4-2 lead in the second-half. Sadly, though, it wasn’t enough as Liverpool recovered to scrap a 5-5 draw.

To the disbelief of some Gunners supporters, however, Emery withdrew a clearly in-form Ozil in the 65th-minute for Matteo Guendouzi.

Although the Frenchman later quickly proved the Arsenal boss right by assisting Joe Willock’s screamer five minutes later.

“I think he [Ozil] played very well,” said Emery on Arsenal.com.

“Tonight, you’ve seen he is a skilful player in the team and he was very positive every time and I think he played a very good match.

“We spoke before the match, and we made the decision in the second half to take him off because he hasn’t played for a little while and we want to keep his fitness as he was very tired but, for him, it was great to play 60/65 minutes.”

As for the 10 goal-thriller itself, Emery added: “It was a crazy match.

“I think it was amazing for the supporters, for us and everybody. For the football, I think as a supporter I enjoyed it.

“The play in the first half had a high rhythm. It was a very good performance in general, we can also speak about the defensive moments tactically but in attack, five goals. But we can’t be 100 per cent happy even if we had won.

“Sometimes I think in these matches, it can help the supporters being happy with the energy, with the spirit from both teams. We were very close to the win and they equalised late on and penalties are 50/50. We are disappointed in the end, defensively because we conceded five goals but there were a lot of positives for us to use for the future.”

Although Arsenal could still end up in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals should Jurgen Klopp indeed withdraw Liverpool from the competition.

Mesut Ozil, Unai Emery, Arsenal, Liverpool, Carabao Cup
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal is challenged by Sepp Van Den Berg of Liverpool during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on October 30, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)