Arsenal morning news: Ozil to be rested; players backing Podolski

Emirates Inside

All the latest news and gossip from The Emirates this morning.

Many sources today believe that Arsene Wenger is ready to drop Mesut Ozil for this afternoons game against Sunderland.

The German international has been seriously out of form recently and fans have been mounting pressure on Wenger to give him a rest after a busy winter schedule so far.

Now it seems the club record signing is going to sit out this weekends game, at least on the bench to start, as Wenger gives him the chance to recharge some batteries.

Meanwhile reports also suggest that Olivier Giroud will come back into the side for today's tie. He has recently been dropped for youngster Yaya Sanogo against Liverpool and Bayern in the FA Cup and Champions League respectively but should come back into first team action this afternoon.

It is also reported that a number of Arsenal players believe that Lukas Podolski is not getting a fair crack of the whip at the club recently,

The German international is used largely from the bench - but there are reportedly growing concerns he could leave if he does not get more regular football under Wenger.

He is a firm dressing room favourite - and the players are reportedly concerned he could leave the club in the summer should he not get more playing time.

Yaya Sanogo may be on the bench today - but Wenger has compared him to Nicolas Anelka amid criticism of giving the young Frenchman an opportunity.

He stated:

"When I started to play Anelka, everybody said ‘why you start Anelka, why not buy a striker?’ We won a championship with him,” said Wenger. “It’s just like that, if we feel they are ready then they play. There’s a potential there. This boy is world champion of the under-20s..."

Arsenal are reportedly ready to renew their interest in Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender in the summer.

The young German international has been a long-term target of Wenger and co - but only recently signed a new deal at the BayArena.

Wenger apparently sees him as a long-term replacement to Mikel Arteta, who at 31 is approaching the end of his Arsenal shelf-life.

Morgan Schneiderlin and Ilkay Gundogan are also mentioned as potential targets.

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