Arsenal manager Unai Emery indicated Mesut Ozil did not deserve a place in his squad after he missed a London derby loss to West Ham on Saturday.
Ozil, Arsenal’s highest-paid player, has returned to full training over the last week following a knee injury.
But the former Germany international did not even make it onto the bench at the London Stadium where Declan Rice’s first senior goal gave the Hammers a 1-0 win.
Ozil has missed games for a variety of reasons this season and Saturday saw Emery keep faith with the side that beat Fulham in their previous Premier League match.
Emery was in defiant mood when asked why Ozil had not featured at all on Saturday, saying: “I decided the idea of the players that I think are the best for this match.
“We win with him, we lose with him. I think it is not one player (which means) we can’t win or lose.”
The Spaniard, speaking after a reverse that saw the Gunners fail to close the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea, added: “Today the players who were here are the players who deserved to be in this match. We could’ve won or lost.
“We continue working with every player because they are all important, but today the decision was to come with these players.”