Mesut Özil missed the Arsenal FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United on Sunday, after picking up another injury in training.

ozil training
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND: Özil of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on May 22, 2020. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal’s injury list is long enough from actual matches since football’s return, but apparently Mesut Özil is adding to the total in training now.

The club report that the playmaker missed training on Saturday with a slight back injury, forcing him to miss out on the trip to Sheffield United. It’s the latest of many niggling injuries in the case of the 31-year-old.

Back trouble, knee problems, illness, rest, tactical reasons, it’s getting hard to keep track of all the explanations for why Özil isn’t in the squad this time.

I’m no conspiracy theorist, and it tends to annoy me when people see one or two injury absences as just an excuse not to play a certain player. But with Özil, we’re a few years into this saga now. It’s harder and harder to argue there’s nothing else going on.

It seems like every time Özil drops to the bench for a couple of games he suddenly picks up an injury. It’s all a bit bizarre. Are the club hiding his fitness problems? Is he protecting his brand by pulling himself out of contention when he isn’t picked? Who knows?

We get such infrequent and vague updates on this subject that we’re all filling in the gaps. Regardless, we hope the injury is nothing serious and Özil is back soon.