Arsenal boss Unai Emery has told Mesut Ozil he faces a fight to regain his place in the team after being left out of Thursday's Europa League win over Standard Liege.
Ozil was not in the squad as the Gunners cruised to a 4-0 win at Emirates Stadium, with Gabriel Martinelli scoring twice before further goals from Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos.
The 30-year-old has only played twice this season, in the 2-2 Premier League draw at Watford and last week's 5-0 EFL Cup defeat of Nottingham Forest, in which he was captain.
Emery has told the playmaker to work hard to win back a spot for Sunday's league game at home to Bournemouth.
When asked why Ozil was not involved against Standard, he told a news conference: "I am thinking every time to decide the best players for each match, and the best players in the squad to play and to help us. If I decided he is not in the squad, it's because I think another player deserved it more."
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Pressed on what Ozil must do to regain his place, Emery replied: "Continue working. Tomorrow [Friday], we have training, and Sunday we have another match and we are going to decide the same: the best team possible to achieve our target, which is to win on Sunday and adapt to the difficulty of Bournemouth."
Emery was delighted with the performance of Martinelli, who also scored twice in the win over Forest, although he does not believe the teenager's best position is as a central striker.
"He played in pre-season with us and in every training session he showed he is hungry to be with us," said Emery.
"His pace is amazing and, in pre-season, he played in different positions. He preferred to play left wing but he played as a right-winger as well. He played as a striker in Brazil; it's not the best position for him.
"The first thing in his mind is to help us. His performance tonight and his attitude was amazing. In pre-season he was perfect with us all the time in training, playing, and I spoke with him to be calm because if he continues with training and with this hunger, he is going to do well.
"Our targets for the season are very important to achieve, but each match for the young players, when they have chances to play, if they play like some did tonight then they deserve to be with us. Matches like tonight I think are good because it is an important competition after the Premier League and they are deserving of being in the next matches with us."
Emery was also pleased with the performance of Kieran Tierney, who set up Martinelli for the opening goal.
"After his injury, he's coming back with a good attitude, he played last week against Nottingham Forest for 80 minutes," he said of the left-back.
"It was a good performance and tonight was a good performance. We are a better, competitive team with him and Sead Kolasinac at left-back. We are very happy with him."
-Hector Bellerin impressed with Gabriel Martinelli-
Hector Bellerin continues to be impressed by young striker Gabriel Martinelli after he scored twice in Arsenal's 4-0 win over Standard Liege on Thursday.
The 18-year-old struck twice in the space of 131 seconds to set the Gunners on their way to a second Europa League victory this season, before Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos added goals of their own.
Martinelli now has four goals from two starts at Emirates Stadium, having netted a double in the 5-0 EFL Cup defeat of Nottingham Forest last week.
Bellerin believes there is plenty more to come from the Brazilian, who joined Unai Emery's side from Ituano in July.
"He's kept his head down and worked really hard, listened to the players, listened to the coaches, and it shows on the pitch," Bellerin told BT Sport.
"He's doing what the coach is asking him to do and that's the most important thing. He's still very young and I'm sure there's still a lot to come from him."
Bellerin felt Arsenal demonstrated a commendable attitude against Standard as they claimed a fourth win from their last five games in all competitions.
"I think the team had a great performance," said the full-back. "We came from beating Nottingham Forest at home, which was a very important win for us. We had great character in that win and the team always wanted more goals, which is the way to show respect, always playing at 100 per cent.
"We wanted to emulate that style of play, that pressing, even when winning 3-0 or 4-0. You can see the team is hungry and wants to improve.
It was a special game for Bellerin, who captained Arsenal for the first time in what was his first start since damaging knee ligaments in January.
"It's one of the best feelings for everyone who's been injured like that," he said. "They understand how hard the process is. But it's made me a better human and better player.
"I'm so grateful to all the physios, all the coaches, my family and friends around me – they've made it that little bit easier. Now, hopefully, I can enjoy my football."
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