If you had suggested this time last year that a Mesut Ozil injury would largely be greeted with indifference amongst Arsenal fans, you’d have been labelled a clown, and rightly so.
However, the German’s consistently limp displays this term have far from endeared him to the Gunners’ faithful, and his knock could be a welcome relief for both the player and the team.
Although Arsenal are still as short as 4/9 to make the top four, their title hopes have all but been ended already after they won just two of their first seven matches.
Ozil has been tired, a millstone around their attacking play and about as useful as a chocolate teapot in terms of his defensive work. The rest might be exactly what he needs.
In the meantime, Arsene Wenger must resist the obvious choice of replacing the German with Santi Cazorla, and instead give Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a much-deserved run in the side.
The England international has featured in each of Arsenal’s seven league games this term, but only completed 90 minutes once – against Spurs when he netted the equaliser.
Cazorla, who is more of a natural playmaker than Oxlade-Chamberlain, might seem the natural replacement for Ozil, but the Gunners would benefit more from the younger man’s presence.
Direct, a superb dribbler and always willing to let fly from range, adding the 21-year-old to an attack also containing the similarly mobile Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez would give opposition defences nightmares.
There is also a long-term argument for promoting the youngster over Cazorla, as the latter is likely coming towards the end of his Arsenal career having been linked with moves away over the summer after losing his first-team spot.
Meanwhile, Oxlade-Chamberlain looks on track to develop into a key player for the Gunners, and accelerating that progress while also improving the plodding attacking play Wenger’s side have been guilty of recently looks the right choice
Next up for the Gunners is a home match against Hull, a game they are heavy 2/5 favourites to win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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