Unai Emery says that with another game coming up on Sunday, he decided to rest both Mesut Ozil and Sokratis for the Europa League trip to Germany.
The Gunners face Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow night, and while the Greek international has played 90 minutes in all five Premier League games – as well as two internationals during the recent break – Ozil’s first appearance of the season came on Sunday at Watford.
He played 71′ minutes of the 2-2 draw, but the Arsenal boss has chosen to ‘rest’ him ahead of the weekend’s clash against Aston Villa at the Emirates.
Denying it was anything to do with a return to Germany, Emery said, “Sokratis and Mesut, they rest for this match.”
Pressed on whether the 30 year old needed a break, he continued, “Yes, I prefer after Sunday match to rest, to train, to be ready for Sunday.
“Now he’s going to be helping us not tomorrow but Sunday we are going to play another match.”
Which is fine at face value, but doesn’t really stack up when you consider the squad he took to Frankfurt, most of whom played at Vicarage Road in the dismal 2-2 draw. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are likely to be in action tomorrow, and they too will be needed for Sunday.
As for the game itself, Emery is expecting a tough time against last season’s beaten semi-finalists.
“Really we have big respect for this team because last year they played in the semi-final with a big, big performance all season,” he said.
“They will be with their supporters pushing and excited to start with us and at the beginning it will be a really good match because two teams who want to do something important in this competition.”