Arsene Wenger has explained midfielder Mesut Ozil was on the bench against West Brom due to a lack of fitness, having only recently recovered from a knee injury.
The German international was on the bench for Monday’s game against West Brom, having already missed the games against Doncaster and Chelsea through injury. Wenger has explained why he didn’t start on Monday, citing his knee injury and a lack of training time.
“He just came back from a knee problem,” he said, reports the Metro. “And he hasn’t practiced a lot in the last two weeks. I didn’t know really how much he has lost on the fitness front.”
Ozil was absent for the 0-0 draw against Chelsea due to a minor knee injury, and only returned to first-team training late the following week.
In what was always going to be a physical game against West Brom, Wenger opted not to risk the 28-year-old and instead went for the more industrious Mohamed Elneny.
Ozil did come on as a late substitute, but wasn’t needed on the night as Arsenal had a 2-0 lead before then. The 28-year-old could now feature in Arsenal’s Europa League group stage match against BATE Borisov on Thursday.
Normally, Ozil would be rested for such a game, but his recent absence may have left him a bit short of fitness. If he doesn’t play on Thursday, I believe he’s expected to return to the starting line-up for the visit of Brighton on Sunday.