Arsenal boss Unai Emery has explained why he has left Mesut Ozil out of his squad for Thursday night’s Europa League clash against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Ozil has played just 71 minutes of football this season – having made his first start in the 2-2 draw with Watford on Sunday, which saw the Gunners surrender a two-goal lead at Vicarage Road.
But, despite Ozil’s lack of game time, Emery insists the playmaker is in need of a rest ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa and has been left out of the trip to Germany.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – who has played every minute of the opening five Premier League games of the season – has also been left behind in England.
“We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also can have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for tomorrow and Sokratis and Mesut they rest this match,” said Emery.
“I prefer after the Sunday match to rest that match and to train and to be ready for Sunday.
“Because we are going to play another match on Sunday. My decision is because he played and also I’m thinking tomorrow the focus and the first 11.
“After that I decided who are the players who can be the best for tomorrow and also the players not and that is Sokratis and Mesut.
“Really the first match he played on Sunday, he played well and was good physically – also giving us his capacity and skills and after his first minutes (of the season) it was good for us.
“Now he is ready to help us, not tomorrow but on Sunday – we are going to play another match and tomorrow we are thinking to do some rotation.”
Rob Holding, who has not made an appearance so far this campaign, makes the trip overseas as he returns from a serious knee injury.
Meanwhile, youngsters Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe are also part of the Arsenal squad.
Smith-Rowe certainly made his mark in last season’s competition, scoring twice in the group stage before he was sent on loan to RB Leipzig.