Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny were all noticeably absent from Arsenal’s squad to face Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger had previously said that both Ramsey, who has a ‘muscular’ problem, and Ozil ‘should’ have been fit enough to face Chelsea in the friendly at Wembley.
However, precisely no one was surprised when neither was included. Not even on the bench.
According to the boss post-match, Ozil’s ankle is still swollen from receiving a kick in training but he could face Leicester on Friday.
Wenger says Ozil has a swollen ankle after taking a kick in training. "He has a little chance to play on Friday night" vs Leicester.
— Mattias Karén (@MattiasKaren) August 6, 2017
Arsenal.com claimed before the match that Wenger didn’t want to risk the German, or Ramsey, and instead allowed them to rest.
Wenger says Ramsey unlikely to be fit for Leicester game on Friday due to minor calf problem.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) August 6, 2017
While it would have been great to see either one of them against Chelsea, their fitness is far more important than any match, let alone a friendly. Hopefully Wenger’s right and both injuries are indeed only minor.
Curiously, Kos was also left out despite his three-match ban, of which he has two games left to serve, not counting for the Community Shield. In fact, according to the club’s website, him missing the first two Premier League games of the season against Leicester City and Stoke is why he missed out against Chelsea.
It said, “Laurent Koscielny – who could have featured – has also been left out of the squad, as he is suspended for the first two games of the new Premier League season.”
The centre-back has been dealing with a back problem in pre-season so perhaps with his immediate match fitness not needed for the first games, Wenger gave him some extra rest.
Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi have only just returned from their extended summer breaks so aren’t yet fit enough to play.