'I wouldn't have picked him anyway' – Ljungberg explains Ozil's absence for Arsenal as World Cup winner is dropped once again

Mesut Ozil would not have been in Arsenal’s squad to face Everton even if he was not carrying a knock, says Freddie Ljungberg, with the World Cup winner once again paying the price for inconsistency.

The German playmaker was a notable absentee from the Gunners’ matchday squad as they took in a Premier League trip to Merseyside on Saturday.

Arsenal had revealed in the build-up to the game that Ozil was a doubt after picking up an injury during a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City.

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He had lasted less than an hour in a disappointing display against the reigning Premier League champions.

Ozil’s departure was greeted by jeers from a disgruntled home support – in a show of anger from the stands similar to that which saw Granit Xhaka lose his cool earlier in the season.

There was no on-field show of dissent from Ozil as he left the field, but his emotions spilled over before taking to the bench.

Ljungberg has suggested that those actions would have cost the 31-year-old a role against the Toffees regardless of whether he was fit or not.

Explaining the German’s absence for a visit to Goodison Park, the Gunners’ interim boss told BT Sport: “Mesut has something on his foot.

“He wouldn’t have been in the squad anyway after what happened in the last game.”

Arsenal’s outing against Everton will be their last with Ljungberg calling the shots.

It was announced on Friday that former club captain Mikel Arteta will be returning to north London as successor to Unai Emery.

The Spaniard’s first official game at the helm will be a Boxing Day clash with Bournemouth, with a watching brief taken in at Goodison – the home of another one of his former clubs.

Carlo Ancelotti also took up a place in the crowd after being appointed as the new manager of the Toffees.

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Ljungberg added on the situation he and Duncan Ferguson faced, with both men preparing to pass on their respective reins: “That’s the way it is, that’s what football is.

“I said that I love this club and I tried to help them as much as I possibly can. That’s how it is and there’s nothing I can change.”

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