According to The Mirror, Arsene Wenger is planning on giving Mesut Ozil a much-needed rest and hopes a week on the side-lines will help the German recharge his batteries.
The German international has put in a succession of below-par performances since the turn of the year – with reports suggesting that he is suffering from not having the European winter break.
Clubs in Spain, Italy and Germany are given more than two weeks to relax with their families, enjoy the sunshine in warmer climates and recharge their batteries heading in to the second half of the season. English clubs however have the traditional busy festive period, where up to five games can be played in 17 days.
Mesut Ozil’s form since the turn of the year has been a far cry from his dazzling displays he set in early autumn, where he contributed to over ten goals through goals and assists.
His last goal came in the 1-1 draw at home to Everton in early December, and the German international’s missed penalty against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday was the final straw for Arsene Wenger.
The Arsenal boss still has 100% faith in his record signing, but admitted that Ozil is still reeling from his horror spot-kick.
He said: “Is Ozil over it now? Certainly not. Because 48 hours is a bit short to get over that but it’s part of the job to deal with disappointment and to show that you can respond to it.”
It is believed that football's biggest problems can be solved through playing more football. Therefore, despite Ozil’s current dilemma, it comes as a bit of a surprise for Arsene Wenger to consider dropping him against a side which hasn’t beaten the Gunners in London since 1983.
There is no doubt Ozil needs a rest, but Sunderland at home provides the German with an excellent opportunity to escape from his current problems.
Is it worth the risk? Only Arsene Wenger knows the answer to that.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald