Arsenal manager Unai Emery has responded to the incident involving Mesut Ozil’s coat during the Gunners’ 1-0 defeat Everton.
The north Londoners arrived at Goodison Park with high hopes of strengthening their bid for a top-four finish, but it turned into a frustrating afternoon as Phil Jagielka’s early strike proved to be enough for the hosts to secure all three points.
Ozil has often been overlooked by Emery for away games this season, but the Spaniard handed the midfielder a starting berth – and the captain’s armband – on Merseyside.
However, Ozil operated on the fringes of the game as Arsenal failed to build on their victory over Newcastle United and could now slip out of the top-four if Chelsea win their game in hand against West Ham on Monday night.
Frustration evidently got the better of Ozil when he was substituted in the 74th minute and – bizarrely – he appeared to throw his coat at a member of Everton’s coaching staff prior to taking his seat on the bench.
Ozil’s actions did not lead to a major incident – and it remains unclear who he was aiming for – but Emery believes that Arsenal must learn to manage their frustrations appropriately.
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“We need to recognise our frustration, and we are learning that,” he told Sky Sports when asked whether Ozil’s actions were borne out of frustration at the scoreline.
“And we are not good today, but we are in a good way, we are fourth today, continuing.
“We have a big match against Napoli on Thursday, two matches, and next week against Watford is another big game. We lost, we need to get up, quickly, and find the next thing.”
RATINGS: Every player marked out of 10 from Everton's bruising 1-0 win vs. Arsenal – https://t.co/yyfmNQJkUG
Best = 8/10 💪
Worst = 🤐
— Squawka (@Squawka) April 7, 2019
Meanwhile, Everton manager Marco Silva brushed off talk of the incident and claimed that he did not see Ozil throw his coat towards the Everton staff.
Marco Silva says he didn't notice Ozil throw his coat at the Everton bench.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) April 7, 2019
Top-four hopes fading?
The Gunners seemed to be in good shape to secure a Champions League place after beating Manchester United last month but defeat at Goodison Park has thrown their top-four hopes back into doubt.
Arsenal are the only side in England’s top tier without an away clean sheet to their name this season and a solution to those defensive deficiencies must be found if the north Londoners are to achieve their goal and return to Europe’s elite club competition.
Emery’s men face Watford, Crystal Palace, Wolves, Leicester, Brighton and Burnley during the run-in, but are likely to need one of their to slip up if they are to return to the top four.