Arsenal manager Unai Emery considers Mesut Ozil’s petulant reaction to being substituted during a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace to be a show of “character”.
The German playmaker, who has been in fine form over recent weeks , was once again handed the Gunners armband for a London derby date at Selhurst Park.
He was, however, to make little impact on proceedings and was hauled off after 68 minutes, with Danny Welbeck taking his place.
Ozil did not take too kindly to being summoned to the bench , as he threw his gloves in disgust, but Emery has no issue with his players reacting in disappointment at being replaced.
He told reporters: “It's normal, not happy.
“Not happy because the result was not good at the end. But it's normal. The players, I like the players showing us character when we are not playing well.
“When I chose him, it was 2-1 to us but usually every player wants to continue playing.”
Emery added on his thinking behind taking Ozil off: “Because the last match, away, in the Premier League at Fulham, and we played like that with very good result and transition.
“We needed it. We lost a little bit of possession with the ball. With Daniel, I wanted to find good transitions between two players. Also, at free-kicks, defensively they were pushing. He is good defensively and offensively.”
Arsenal were ultimately held at Palace by two penalties from Luka Milivojevic.
His spot-kicks sandwiched a stunning free-kick from Granit Xhaka and a controversial effort from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang which appeared to see Alexandre Lacazette flick the ball on to his strike partner with a raised hand .
Victory for the Gunners would have been a 12th in succession for them during a productive run, but Emery has no complaints at being forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
He said: “This draw is just because the teams deserved, a minimum, the draw.
“We were in control when they scored their first, not doing a lot in the attacking third, but in control of the match. In the second half we scored two goals from two individual actions and then, a lot of minutes on the game for holding this result with them pushing, with their supporters, and every player attacking us.
“In this moment, we needed the control because we lost possession. We needed to score the third goal to be calm.
“But we cannot make good chances and, when they drew, I think I want to push, to find a moment for us to win the match, but we cannot. This draw is what both teams deserved.”
By Chris Burton
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