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Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will spend even more time on the sidelines after being ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield because of a knee injury.
Per BBC Sport’s David Ornstein, the 30-year-old player complained of pain in his knee and was left out of the squad:
David Ornstein @bbcsport_david
This was recorded at 6pm but we now know Mesut Ozil is out of Arsenal’s game at Liverpool tomorrow. He trained with the squad today but complained of pain in his knee and was withdrawn from the travelling party #AFC #LFC https://t.co/io95HjjIyl
It’s the latest setback in what has been a frustrating season for the German star.
New manager Unai Emery has relied less on Ozil as the 2018/19 season has worn on, taking him off at half-time in their most recent outing against Brighton & Hove Albion. The team boss highlighted it was a tactical decision after the 1-1 result:
Chris Wheatley @ChrisWheatley_
Emery on whether Ozil change was due to Brighton equaliser: "No, it's only tactical. Because we changed from 4-4-2 and this is only a tactical decision."
Per the Telegraph‘s Sam Dean, he previously dropped the former Real Madrid man from his squad for the same reason. Dean noted it wasn’t a new development, but Ozil’s absences usually came with an excuse of sorts:
“His absence was nothing new, of course, but this was the first time there had been no mitigation. There was no illness to cite, no back spasm to blame. Emery simply decided he would rather have a pair of 19-year-olds, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, as attacking options.
“Was Ozil missed? It is doubly worrying for the German that the answer is probably no. Arsenal’s problems were largely elsewhere, most notably in front of the Spurs goal and in their own under-strength back line. They did not struggle to create chances, as Ozil has spent a career doing, rather they were unable to finish them.”
There was already a good chance he would not have been in the squad to face the in-form Premier League leaders Liverpool, and Arsenal blogger James McNicholas wouldn’t rule out the possibility Ozil was using the excuse of knee pain to skip this contest:
Maybe the news that Ozil himself pulled out due to a knee issue will dampen some of the Emery-bashing on my timeline tonight.
Also, fortunately for Mesut there’s absolutely no history of him suddenly becoming injured or sick when he was unlikely to be named in the starting XI… https://t.co/nlFY2srYYS
The Gunners lacked creativity against the Seagulls after Ozil left the pitch, and Emery is likely to compensate for his absence by turning to Aaron Ramsey.
What this latest setback means for Ozil’s long-term future at the Emirates Stadium is unclear, but with the January transfer window right around the corner, a sudden exit can’t be ruled out.
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