Ozil needs a rest - Wenger

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iol spt dec22 Ozil

Reuters

Arsene Wenger admits record signing Mesut Ozil could do with a rest  but not until the mercurial German has been let loose on Chelsea. Photo by: Dylan Martinez

Arsene Wenger admits record signing Mesut Ozil could do with a rest — but not until the mercurial German has been let loose on Chelsea in tomorrow night’s mouth-watering pre-Christmas showdown.

The Arsenal boss has never found himself on the winning side in nine meetings with Jose Mourinho and his side need to rediscover their touch and re-establish a five-point lead over their London rivals following defeats by Manchester City and Napoli.

Ozil’s inventiveness has had a galvanising effect on the whole Arsenal team but the former Real Madrid star has shown signs of fatigue and would normally be looking forward to a winter break instead of a frenzied period of festive fixtures.

‘In Germany and most of Europe they have Christmas off and at some stage I will have to give him a break,’ said Wenger. ‘But Monday night? No.’

Wenger is at pains not to rekindle his notoriously frosty relationship with Mourinho. The pair have never hit it off but the Arsenal boss says that cannot be allowed to get in the way of what promises to be a juicy six-pointer.

‘I don’t want to speak about that,’ said Wenger. ‘What is important is the players.’

With Chelsea demonstrating uncharacteristic failings both in front of goal and at the back, Wenger sees tomorrow as a golden opportunity to at last put one over Mourinho — and use it as a springboard to kick on again.

‘We’ve had a couple of disappointing results but we have been in much more difficult situations,’ he added.

‘I knew we could perhaps be in trouble against Man City, having played three big games in six days, and three games the week before. Now we have had a little breather.’

While winning a first league title since 2004 remains the priority, momentum is building towards February’s repeat Champions League match with Bayern Munich.

Wenger still bristles at the manner of Arsenal’s exit last season when they were knocked out on away goals to the eventual winners despite a superb 2-0 second-leg triumph in Munich.

‘I asked Uefa after that to get rid of the away goals rule,’ Wenger revealed. ‘It was as difficult, if not more so, to win 2-0 at Bayern without conceding a goal as it was for them to score once here.’ – Mail On Sunday


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