Mesut Ozil earns Unai Emery praise but not guaranteed a regular Arsenal start
Arsenal progress to Europa League last 16 after 3-1 aggregate win over BATE Borisov
Last Updated: 22/02/19 4:37am
Unai Emery praised Mesut Ozil's performance in Arsenal's 3-0 win over BATE Borisov but says he cannot guarantee him a regular start.
Emery said Ozil had been "important and positive" as the Gunners overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to secure their place in the Europa League's last 16.
Ozil played his first 90 minutes of 2019, with his only other two outings since Boxing Day having come off the bench because of a combination of illness and minor injuries.
The club's highest-paid player responded with a solid performance on his return, an own goal and efforts from defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos enough to see them through.
Emery revealed before Thursday's match he wanted more consistency from Ozil, and after his return he said: "Today he showed what he wants.
"If he is available, like the last two weeks, we are going to play a lot of matches and maybe sometimes we need him in the starting XI and sometimes on the bench because we have a lot of players to also help us.
"His spirit like today is good and his quality and capacity and combination with some players is good.
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"I think we need every player and today playing Mesut was important and positive."
Ozil himself wrote on Twitter: "Such a good feeling to be back on the pitch again. Great performance from the whole team overall."