Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has explained that Mesut Ozil missed today's Premier League through injury rather than being rested or simply dropped, with the German playmaker out with a bruised thigh.
Ozil was not included in Arsenal's 18-man squad for Saturday's Premier League clash with Sunderland, after playing the full 90 minutes four times inside 11 days for the Gunners.
The 25-year-old endured a difficult night against Bayern Munichin in midweek and was largely reported to have been taken out of the firing line by Wenger this weekend as a result, but the Gunners boss has attempted to quell that suggestion by disclosing that the £42.4m man is actually struggling through injury.
Wenger told Sky Sports News before the Sunderland clash: "He [Ozil} has a thigh problem he picked up in practice.
"He got a big bruise on his thigh and was not available today."
Despite losing a significant creative influence Arsenal quickly raced into a 3-0 half-time lead against Sunderland this afternoon, with Olivier Giroud bagging a brace before Tomas Rosicky added shine to the scoreline just before the interval.
Arsenal were acutely aware that three points were imperative before kick-off, with Premier League leaders Chelsea closing out a 1-0 win over Everton earlier today thanks to a stoppage-time winner from John Terry.