Mesut Özil is the latest player Arsene Wenger has ruled out until the end of the season, after the German picked up a back injury in Madrid.
Özil played no part in Arsenal’s match against Burnley at the weekend, although he was in attendance at the stadium. Wenger explained that his squad absence was due to a setback with a previous injury.
“[It is] a recurrence of his back problem,” Wenger said. “How long is he out? I don’t know.
“I don’t think he’ll be available for the rest of the season.”
The 29-year-old has had a much quieter campaign than usual in 2017/18, thanks to illness and injury. Even now he’s only up to 24 league starts, significantly fewer than the 32 he managed last season. From the sounds of things, he won’t be adding to that total this week either.
As a result, his goals dropped significantly, with just five compared to last season’s 12. Although, by contrast he still managed the same number of assists, so it’s not all bad. Still, it hasn’t been enough to help Arsenal to anything more than a sixth-place finish.
He joins Laurent Koscielny on the injury table, who completed his lap of appreciation on crutches on Sunday. Mohamed Elneny also looks like he won’t return in time for the final matches of the season.
At least Elneny and Özil should both be fit for the World Cup this summer. After that, hopefully they’ll get some rest and come back refreshed and ready for next season.