Arsenal have allowed Mesut Ozil to take breaks at several points this season in order to ensure he maintains full fitness, Arsene Wenger has revealed.
As per the London Evening Standard, Wenger confirmed that his German playmaker ‘doesn’t practise a lot’ at the moment, with fears obviously present concerning his ability to remain fit for the majority of the season.
Already this term Arsenal have lost the likes of Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Alexis Sanchez to injuries. The fact that Ozil is in by far the best form of his career at the Emirates Stadium makes it all the more important that Wenger can keep him in good condition.
“I gave Mesut a one-week holiday during the international break,” Wenger said.
“At the moment he doesn't practice a lot, we rest him a lot between the games.
“He is a guy who, once the basic fitness is there between the games, he wants to play. There are types of players, sometimes the most technical players, it looks like it demands less energy for them to play - it is just natural for them…
“You also look at the impact Ozil can have on other players. The Premier League is very tight and if you go into the decisive game and [rest Ozil or other key players], the other players think subconsciously ‘Why?’, and even the player himself.”
Keeping Ozil ready for the big games is the best way to ensure that Arsenal have the greatest possible chance of maintaining their current title charge.
The former Real Madrid man has 16 Premier League assists to his name already; no mean feat for a player who was regularly criticised last year.
With Arsenal currently level of points with unlikely highflyers Leicester City - the Gunners lead the Premier League table on goal difference - there’s genuine belief that this year could be the one in which Wenger ends the title drought.
It’s fair to say the north London giants can be considered favourites given Leicester’s lack of pedigree and the inconsistent form of Manchester City, but keeping Ozil fit could well be a make or break factor.
Arsenal fans, has Ozil been your best player this campaign? Let us know in the comments box below.