If Mesut Ozil can not handle the "physicality and intensity" of a trip to Bournemouth, how will he have to face a Tottenham Hotspur side that has decimated Chelsea's undefeated record? That was perhaps the most pressing question of an encouraging weekend for Arsenal and Unai Emery, who threw away his German playmaker, changed the shape of his team and roared with delight when they returned to the winning form.
The 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Sunday was again far from perfect. But again, it felt like another step forward for an Arsenal side that has not been lost since mid-August. After three consecutive draws in the Premier League, here was a more impressive achievement, a more dynamic performance, against one of the most impressive sides of the division.
And, not for the first time this season, it was a positive result without Ozil in the team. Instead, the German was sitting quietly on the couch, not even in attendance to neigh-binge on the sidelines. When she was immediately asked about Ozil's absence, Emery said afterwards that he had chosen his side in anticipation of a "very demanding match with physicality and intensity".
This choice of words was harmful in two ways. Firstly because of the indication that Emery Ozil did not think it suitable for the energy of Bournemouth. And secondly because it suggested that Emery believed that Ozil had its own physicality and intensity & # 39; of Arsenal would not add, which are two of the non-negotiable pillars of the philosophy of the new head coach.