Ozil trains alone ahead of United game

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Unai Emery has revealed that Mesut Ozil trained alone today as he tries to recover from the back spasm that has seen him miss Arsenal’s last two games.

The German made the bench for the trip to Bournemouth last week but has not been in the matchday squads for the trip to Kiev and yesterday’s 4-2 win over Sp*rs.

Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Wednesday and it remains to be seen whether our most high-profile star will travel with the group.

“Today he was working alone, I don’t know if he’s OK for Wednesday,” Emery said on Monday. 

“I said yesterday he’s had backache since last Tuesday. He couldn’t play in Kiev or yesterday. At the moment, I don’t know if he can play in Manchester.”

Whether Ozil has a back problem or not has been debated on the terraces and in the newspapers for 24 hours now.

That this latest issue comes so soon after Emery’s decision not to play him at Bournemouth and that the Arsenal medical team didn’t mention Ozil in their fitness bulletin on Friday has definitely exacerbated speculation that there’s been a falling out between player and coach.

The Spaniard’s short, sharp post-game comments about not knowing if his player was at the Emirates yesterday further added fuel to the fire.

Arsenal will definitely be without Granit Xhaka on Wednesday as his booking against Sp*rs tipped him over the yellow card threshold for this section of the season.

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Runzac
Runzac

When you ask 10 players to hold up high pressure, only one player can ruin the work for everybody else. If you cheat on the task the better teams will sniff out the cheater and punish – sometimes with a goal.

Attitude is another thing. The attitude was great yesterday and everybody was up to the fight. I think Özil is not that kind of player, he has other tremendous attributes, and if a player doesn´t fit the style of play – he doesn´t play – when the manager is brave enough.

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

First of all football is a results business. If your decisions are backed by results then you are a genius and in all the 3 recent games Ozil has missed Arsenal have won. So Unai has no case to answer.

Secondly I am on the Unai train and while I really like Ozil, if Unai feels Ozil doesn’t cut it, then Ozil doesnt cut it. I fully back Unai in this.

Unai is making a statement that if you don’t deliver you dont make the team. This should help Ozil toughen up and get back in the team. In the least it is a big statement to make and take heed of. The lethargic Wenger era where reputation got you far is done.

Everyone needs to b on their toes and that is a good thing.

Arsenala Vista Baby
Arsenala Vista Baby

No, he has back spasms

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Not against Bournemouth. didn’t say he was injured.

A Fleeting Glimpse
A Fleeting Glimpse

Ozil did it against Liverpool and had a very good game along with rest of team. Don’t buy into narrative.

Nikhil Agarwal
Nikhil Agarwal

People seem to ignore how good Özil was against Liverpool. Even Blogs mentioned about it.
It is just not always obvious to the eye – especially when watching it for the first time. A replay just clears it up.

Neil
Neil

Maybe Emery has an issue with Ozil, maybe he doesn’t. If he does, I hope he sorts it out sooner rather than alter. What’s more annoying is that the perception that Ozil has some sort of attitude problem seems to be sticking with the armchair managers despite evidence to the contrary.

Neil
Neil

*later

punter
punter

And vs Leicester too. Where we came back from a goal down to win it at home. So..this whole thing about Ozil not capable of playing a bit daft.

Timsh
Timsh

Was it Chelsea at home and United at home where we blitzed both of them in the first 30 minutes? I believe Özil was a part of that. I think if the pressing is done cohesively, by everyone, he can do it too. It’s just when it’s not done as well, when only he and the striker press that he (understandably) gets frustrated.
He’s always got good running and sprint stats so it’s probably more to do with frustration about the system. How he reacts/-ed to that nobody knows for sure…except for the team.

However, I would really appreciate some transparency from the club on his absence.

Edzo
Edzo

You mean we won matches before we got this new manager? Seems like from the media reports we’ve never won before.

I love our new manager. And this team, although I don’t want Ramsey to leave. But if Wenger was manager right now and we were 4th, tied on points with spurs, media and some fans would be chanting for Wenger to leave.

We had the second best home record last season. Something was obviously off on the road. And, yes, with all the pressure on the players it was time for Wenger to go.

But ozil isna great player. He’s won fa cups, lead the league in assists one year. We need him. We need depth. That’s one thing that has been lacking in past years. ( we also need some center backs who don’t as a first choice go to ground.)

Emery will get us back in the top 4. Either this season or next. But in order to challenge for the league we need to spend. Liverpool are title contenders because they spent like 200 million on a world class defender and goalie. I don’t see ua spending that cash to improve our defense and to buy another winger so Iwobi and mhiktarian no longer have to start. Otherwise after a few seasons of top 4 finishes fans and media will be calling for Emerys head.

Matt
Matt

Dunno what’s going down but a lot of people dismissing back pain online, perfectly legitamite reason to miss a game. Genuinely writing this mid physio for my own clapped out spine.

A Different George
A Different George

Some years ago, I had what can be described as back “spasms,” though I usually said “my back has gone out.” At its worst, I needed to take slow careful steps to avoid sudden intense pain, etc. etc. Obviously, Ozil is a younger, super-fit athlete, with a team of physios and the best advice, but everything I have read about his condition makes me think the problem is completely physical.

A Yank in King Arsene's West Stand
A Yank in King Arsene's West Stand

Definitely. I had a back spasm about three months ago and still haven’t fully recovered. I had to hold my arms up like a T-rex when I walked (funny for everyone else to watch!) because my torso couldn’t support the weight of my arms hanging off it and walk in teeny little shuffle steps – it was *incredibly* painful. Also, the Dr told me that once you get a back spasm, you’re likely to re-aggravate it in the future, so it does make sense that this keeps coming up.

Wengerballz
Wengerballz

Your arms weight the same whether they’re bent or not

btw
btw

Angle, torque

SB Still
SB Still

I’m perfectly happy for this to be a non injury issue. I’ve got the utmost respect for Wenger but players were having way too comfortable life in the last couple of his years, while Wenger remained faithful and took almost all the bullets.

It’s absolutely fine if Emery is forcing the players to give their best. I don’t think it’s anything egoistic between Emery and Ozil (unlike the shit storm in Manchester). If Emery is trying to get the best out of his team and his stars, can’t wait for an Ozil who meets those expectations.

Ordnance Dave
Ordnance Dave

Exactly this. Not only is chronic back pain debilitating when it happens (it can bed you for several days), it’s also very difficult to operate on (the spine) and can put doubts in your mind as you can never tell what will set off the pain.

Pedant
Pedant

Sounds like he does have a back issue if he is training alone.

Plus he did celebrate our win https://twitter.com/MesutOzil1088/status/1069267445419073536

so it may well be true that he is injured and still wanting the team to win even if he isn’t playing.

Devlin
Devlin

Blogs really wants to believe Ozil has an attitude. I don’t even know if an attitude suits him because he is our highest paid player and star, but Its getting a bit over board now. The only things Blogs believes are the negative things about Mesut. I mean, we all know his flaws, but attitude has never been one of those.

He came back early to take part in the hard sessions his teammates were raving about, how has that gone out of the window. He had the worst World Cup experience of our players, the worst pre-season on a personal note, and still didn’t take his full holidays, just to work with Emery. Why would he all of a sudden sulk? He has never done so at any club in his career except to Mourinho at Madrid who tried to do what he did to Luke Shaw on him.

Seriously Blogs, you need to read the things you write about Ozil, it’s really depressing how you are painting him as the bad guy in every scenario. Even the Arsecast is now basically about how Ozil is a bad character who is going against this team.

Why would anyone accuse a player of feigning injury though? We all played football I assume, would you feign an injury if you were Ozil?

Ach
Ach

Except no one is saying ozil is feigning injury.

PFo
PFo

In this and the earlier post about Emery’s initial comments, Arseblog (or Arseblog news hound) is doing everything but clearly saying it. Doesn’t take a PhD to figure out what is being snidely and ever-so-subtly implied.

PFo
PFo

I’ve got a theory about all this. Gunnerblog has spoken dismissively about Ozil’s twitter “fanboys” before, but Andrew and James are as guilty of being head over heels for their favourites–particularly Bellerin and Ramsey–as anyone else. Since at least the summer, Ramsey and Ozil have often been portrayed by media/fans as being in some kind of competition with each other to earn Emery’s trust and a future at Arsenal. The club ultimately decided to cut Ramsey loose, and by implication supported Ozil as a central figure in the squad, at least in the short term (whether or not this is merely because of Ozil’s big contract, as A&J and others have constantly implied, is somewhat beside the point). A&J have not taken their disappointment at the Ramsey news particularly well, and the result has been a lot of these snide, none-too-subtly veiled comments about Ozil.

The claims on the website that the rumors of an argument between Emery & Ozil from earlier in the season were “well sourced”, and continually bringing them up, is particularly galling, given that (a) all the rumors came from one, not-particularly-well-known-or-respected Brazilian journo, and (b) those rumors were later pretty comprehensively refuted by none other than Rafa Honigstein (his article about the issue was on the ESPN website, but I’m too busy to search for it now), an actually well-sourced, highly respected journalist.

This website, and Andrew & James on the Arsecast, have previous in this regard: witness their character assassination of the Ox all through last summer, up to his sale to Liverpool (maybe ‘character assassination’ is the wrong word to describe what was mostly about constantly and unfairly questioning a player’s footballing usefulness, but it’s something similar). There was a constant stream of comments about how Ox had had plenty of chances to fulfill his potential but had failed to do so (basically implying he should be let go), how his agent was demanding far too much for him, and as the end neared, a bunch of absolute nonsense about how Wenger “shoehorning” Ox into the side at LWB was screwing up our performances. When the news of his Liverpool move finally broke, this website added an incredibly uncharitable, ungrateful, classless comment highlighting the Ox’s lack of productivity (in terms of goals/assists) for the Arsenal, at the bottom of the announcement.

My theory at the time was that they turned on the Ox not simply because it looked like he wanted to leave (though that was part of it), but because Ox’s initial highly impressive stint at right wing back in the 3-4-3 had threatened the place of one of Andrew and James’s absolute FAVOURITES, Hector Bellerin. Never mind that (1) Bellerin’s form had been in rapid decline for at least a year before that (bounced back now, thankfully); (2) Ox had looked great at right wing back, and (3) the real problem was trying to shoehorn BOTH of them into the lineup (since neither was a natural fit at LWB), not just the Ox. And never mind that (4) Ox’s form for Liverpool the second half of last year largely vindicated their purchase: he was hugely impressive and would almost certainly have been in the England WC squad if not for injury. Bellerin was being threatened, and Blogs responded reflexively (no doubt largely subconsciously) by making the Ox the villain.

Look, obviously we all have our favourites and our biases (I readily admit to preferring Ox and Ozil over Hector and Ramsey). Nothing wrong with that. But given how Arseblog and Gunnerblog have incredible influence in “setting the narrative” for so many fans, I think they also have a responsibility to report on squad news with greater objectivity–especially when dealing with largely unsupported rumors–rather than feeding into negative narratives about Arsenal’s own current players.

Ach
Ach

What? The narrative is emery didn’t think ozil is physical enough for the game so instead of benching him and invite controversies, he said that ozil got the usual backache. No one is implying that ozil doesn’t want to be benched or playing the way emery want so he feigned injury. Or maybe he actually got injured. Back spasm sounds to serious to be faked. If they want to do it, the usual illness would do. But I guess that’s way to obvious.

Devlin
Devlin

Actually they constantly imply that Ozil doesn’t want to be benched and that he doesn’t want to play the way Emery wants. They constantly say how happy they are if Ozil is being kept out for those reasons, without discussing the alternative scenario that our best player has back problems.

I thought Ozil having back problems would be treated like Welbeck’s injury, in that the discussion will be about how we will cope without him, what he brings to the table when fit, looking at alternatives to him and wishing him well.

The narrative of Ozil being given time off and having that explained through back spasms comes from A&J. He played more games than Ramsey in every season since he arrived at Arsenal, but because he is Ozil, his absences are either due to the manager indulging him or him being weak.

Sometimes it’s not what you say, but what you don’t say which comes out louder. How is an injury discussed this way? All I read or hear is conflicts with the manager when Ozil is the topic, what if he carries this injury his entire life?

At least discuss why he got a contract with all these injury issues? I would understand that, but to keep harping on about a conflict that the manager dismissed whilst similarly clutching on to other statements that the same manager made is not right. You either believe Emery or not. Do not choose when to believe him.

Random Witness
Random Witness

Totally agree. There is a bias towards reporting about Ramsey and Bellerin on arseblog like nowhere else. Ramsey may be a good/great player, but he has been injured for far too many times to be reliable. Ramsey has been holding the club to ransom. When Özil & Sanchez did it, they were branded mercenaries. Ramsey on the other hand “is well within his rights to look for better options”. The club stood by Ramsey during his injury crisis (and just as well, they should). What has Ramsey done to justify his elevated wage demands?

Andre
Andre

You lost me at `hello’

Comedian
Comedian

There is a myth that Emery chooses hardworking players more than ones with attributes. If that was true we would have seen Welbeck and Ramsey start more games than Mkhi and Xhaka. Again on Ozil the assumption is only being made because when Emery was asked “was mesut in the stadium?” He said he didnt know and nothing stopped Ozil from not being at the stadium during the match.

Devlin
Devlin

Back spasms!

Ask people who have experienced those if moving around is an option, and you will find that his absence is not a big surprise. It’s not even a big deal that he wasn’t there, what difference does that make? His teammates know whether he is supporting them or not.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Erm, both Xhaka and Mkhi are hardwaorkers. Pick another example.

Alex
Alex

Happy and quick recovery, Mesut! This is what a fan generally says to one of his players when he is injured. Or if he puts in question the truth of the club’s announcements to the fans, he accuses his club to lie. And it’s not being a fan.

Lucas Sam
Lucas Sam

Maybe he has Contagious the illness?

Lucas Sam
Lucas Sam

Excuse my bad grammar, I just thought maybe he needed private training to manage his injury and maybe has flu (thus don’t want to contaminate other players? He seems to be prone to illness. In my opinion he might be very important to unlocking the bus on Wednesday.

MikeSA
MikeSA

The media love to stir up controversy.

Quite frankly its getting boring now.

MeSoHornsey
MeSoHornsey

I know the press love to stir, however, what is telling is that neither player nor manager has denied rumours of a rift. The player hasn’t confirmed he has an issue with his back either. It’s a bit suspect.

Santori
Santori

People are making a big deal about this.

Unai puts team selection base on scenario and tactical considerations rather than personnel.

That said there’s something to be said when Ramsey who is one foot out of the door is preferred to Ozil.

Maybe Ozil is having back issues.

In any case any sentiment or frustration from being left out of the start for last two matches can (and likely will) be channeled positively by the gaffer to get Ozil psyched for the forthcoming United clash.

OTOH much again is dependent on how Unai sees United and its weaknesses or strengths.

Likely we may go to 4 at the back with Mustafi picking up what looks like a minor gluteal issue.

That would have implications for how we shape up in midfield and further forward.

Potentially we could again go two up top with a playmaker behind and a diamond but we lose width with Bellerin and Kolasinac in more traditional fullback roles watching the likes of Martial.

Therefore we may also revert to a 4-2-3-1 with role potential for Ozil (or not) in the hole behind the main striker.

The great thing with Emery is nothing is ABSOLUTE.

We now have flexibility to switch between several set ups.

JamesD
JamesD

Ozil and Rambo are different players (Capt Obvious I know) and if Unai wanted someone making runs at the TH backline to put pressure on them, Rambo is your guy. Although not in the same universe as Ozil when it comes to passing, they layoff to Auba for his 2nd was as good a pass as youll see and credit to Rambo and Unai for the way this turned out. We need Ozil if we want to be competitive, but the way this unfolded should make every fan relieved that Unai is learning what he has in his tool belt and how/when to use each one. To be where we are in a “rebuilding year” is fantastic. PS I loved Unai’s response to the importance of this match and he replied “Same as Bournemouth for me (3 points) but so glad to win this for the fans”. The right attitude imo as it does nothing to win this one and then go draw NU or some shizz…

Rich
Rich

Ozil is finished, we’ll move him on at the earliest opportunity.
He’s not suited to the way Emery wants us to play, and his performances since February don’t justify him starting.

He deserves the benefit of the doubt regarding his back injury, as there’s no evidence to the contrary, but even if he was fit? I don’t think he’d have started yesterday or at Old Trafford on Wed.

my name is bob
my name is bob

I sympathize with Ozil, because I also have a lot of lower back problems (nothing crazy, but I have unusually tight muscles in my lower back that require me to stretch every morning), and every couple of months I have to take a couple of days to a week off due to my back. I play football and tennis 3-4 times a week, which isn’t too strenuous, so I can’t imagine how much pain Ozil must be in if he has anything similar since he practices and trains so hard every day.

I love how he plays with elegance and flair, making every movement look so easy. I personally think the team is better off with him (look what’s happening to Germany without him, for example), and hopefully he doesn’t get too much criticism from the fans (although this situation seems more like the media looking for headlines than fans searching for a scapegoat).

WellArsed
WellArsed

I’ve had back spasms in the past which were so severe I couldn’t stand up straight and even trying was unbearably agonizing. So, this could be a totally legitimate situation (though if it is stress-induced, it wouldn’t bode well). That said, Emery’s “explanation” (or lack thereof) seemed to suggest there’s more to this than we know. I’ve decided to enjoy the fact that the team seems to be doing well without Özil and wait until we know more about his situation before calling for him to be sold!

N10
N10

Reading the comments here there seems to be a lot of bending over backwards (har har) to accommodate Herr Ozil, and intolerance of a range of opinions.

Back problems are real, no question. So it’s completely reasonable to believe Ozil’s injured.

But do you think Emery would be that dismissive of a legitimate injury?

When Ozil’s on, he’s easy to love. He’s given us glory and how could you not love Good Ozil. I do think he comes in for a lot of criticism because of his inconsistency, his enormous paycheck, and the perception that he’s not very professional, and I think it’s all mostly fair.

Emery is a very experienced coach. I’m sure he has a pretty good BS detector. I think he either smells BS, or has decided Ozil isn’t his type, and so Ozil is having a strop.

The shocker to me was that Emery literally didn’t know when he got the backache, or where he was watching the game.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

Also, how can a back spasm be so debilitating that it prevents him from attending the game, but 12 hours later, is training all fine and dandy by himself at Colney (and the back injury was no reported by the medical team)?

Not sure how people can deny this is a bit fishy.

Adam
Adam

If ozils back problems are so serious and repeated how on earth did we agree to give him such a crazy contract. I simply don’t buy into it. And as much as I love what Ozil is able to do, not even the most stubborn fan can argue that consistency has been a trademark of him in quite some time now. He is by far our most expensive player and until we have a PSG kind of economy (never gonna happen under current ownership) we simply can’t afford our star not to deliver good consistent performances.

Mann
Mann

Click bait.

ramgooner
ramgooner

I love ozil. I think he deserves his contract. While he may not be the kind of player who could do it in some tough away games I would still keep him because he’s got world class attributes that can take this team to next level. Also, I love Mkhitaryan. He may not have scored or assisted as much as we expected from him but, he makes the team tik when he plays and that’s what matters. Let’s remember he scored the first goal of the season against Chelsea.. He also scored against united last year. He was part of our beautiful build up play against fulham. There is not a single underoerforming player in this squad at the moment. We’re well on our way to achieve the goals we set out to achieve at the beginning of this season. Anybody who thinks otherwise can go and support spurs or city.