Out-of-favour Ozil not missed by Emery, Arsenal

LONDON • Mesut Ozil has missed Arsenal's last four matches in all competitions and may be absent again for the visit of Huddersfield in the Premier League today.

A back problem has kept the midfielder on the sidelines, although Unai Emery confirmed he had been in training on Thursday "running and touching the ball".

While the German might be passed fit, there are no guarantees he will slot back into the starting XI, or even make the bench.

His manager looks to have decided he can do without him as he overhauls a team built in the image of predecessor Arsene Wenger.

Ozil's omission from the line-up at Bournemouth on Nov 25 was the big revelation that the footballing world could not fail to notice.

Emery's reasoning could hardly be misinterpreted either, with Ozil benched for the entirety of the game because the Spaniard felt he could not handle the "physicality and intensity" of their opponents.

His enforced absence has mattered little as the Gunners have since extended their unbeaten run to 20 matches and are looking to make it 21 against the Terriers.

For all of Ozil's attributes, he does not tick the boxes that Emery wants from his players - hard running and high pressing - and, at the moment, looks incapable of thriving under his system.

One player who has blossomed under the new boss, though, has been Rob Holding. But the defender will be missing at the Emirates after the club confirmed he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at Manchester United.

Holding will be out for the rest of the season with his rehabilitation process expected to take six to nine months. Aaron Ramsey is also a doubt but captain Laurent Koscielny might return after seven months out.

Separately, the club yesterday responded to a report in The Sun that showed several players apparently inhaling nitrous oxide in a nightclub in pre-season. "The players will be spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club," a spokesman said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Out-of-favour Ozil not missed by Emery, Arsenal'. Print Edition | Subscribe