The Arsenal forward missed the start of the season after being the target of an attempted carjacking and then suffered illness.

Unai Emery: 'Mesut Ozil needs rest'

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  • 2019-09-19 02:10:13 3 months ago
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Unai Emery insists Mesut Ozil needs rest despite playing just 71 minutes of football this season as the Arsenal head coach left the forward at home for the Europa League tie with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Ozil, 30, had not featured at all this season until he started Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Watford.

He missed the start of the season after being the target of an attempted carjacking alongside team-mate Sead Kolasinac, while illness also saw him miss out.

Mesut Ozil has been left out of Arsenal's Europa League game in Germany
Mesut Ozil has been left out of Arsenal's Europa League game in Germany (Nick Potts/PA)

Ozil regained his fitness but was still left on the sidelines until the weekend.

He retired from international football with Germany last year amid controversy and, on what would have been his first return to play in the country, he would have no doubt been in for a hostile reception from a fervent Frankfurt crowd.

But instead Emery offered up the rather bizarre excuse that Ozil was instead being rested alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos – who has played every minute of the opening five Premier League games of the season.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been left at home after playing every minute of Arsenal's five Premier League games this season
Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been left at home after playing every minute of Arsenal's five Premier League games this season (John Walton/PA)

"We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also can have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for tomorrow and Sokratis and Mesut they rest this match," he said.

"I prefer after the Sunday match to rest that match and to train and to be ready for Sunday.

"Because we are going to play another match on Sunday. My decision is because he played and also I'm thinking tomorrow the focus and the first 11.

"After that I decided who are the players who can be the best for tomorrow and also the players not and that is Sokratis and Mesut.

"Really the first match he played on Sunday, he played well and was good physically – also giving us his capacity and skills and after his first minutes (of the season) it was good for us.

"Now he is ready to help us, not tomorrow but on Sunday – we are going to play another match and tomorrow we are thinking to do some rotation."

There will now be plenty of attention on whether Ozil starts Sunday's league visit of Aston Villa, given he has been left out here.

He was front-page news after carjackers targeted him and Kolasinac in Golders Green on the eve of the new Premier League campaign.

Sead Kolasinac has spoken for the first time about a carjacking incident involving him and Mesut Ozil
Sead Kolasinac has spoken for the first time about a carjacking incident involving him and Mesut Ozil (John Walton/PA)

Kolasinac spoke about the incident for the first time and admitted it was tough to deal with but is now keen to move on.

"About what happened I don't want to talk about it in details," he said.

"It's happened and it's something that belongs to the past. The same with Mesut. We are back and we focus on our job and team. We have a very important match ahead here in Frankfurt.

"Well of course I'm happy to be back. Of course mentally this was hard, missing also training for a couple of days.

"I made up for it. I'm back and happy to be back with the team and able to perform with them on the pitch with the team."

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Unai Emery: 'Mesut Ozil needs rest'

Result: Tottenham Hotspur throw away two-goal lead to draw with Olympiacos

Tottenham blew a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Olympiacos as they continue to make hard work of things in the Champions League.

Spurs' run to last season's final was littered with great escapes and last-ditch turnarounds but their group stage this term looked like getting off to a winning start in Athens.

They were not particularly worthy of it, but a Harry Kane penalty and Lucas Moura's thunderbolt put them 2-0 ahead after 30 minutes.

Lucas Moura celebrates after scoring
Lucas Moura celebrates after scoring (Thanassis Stavrakis/AP)

But Daniel Podence's goal on the stroke of half-time let Olympiacos back into it and Mathieu Valbuena's spot-kick after the restart gave the hosts a deserved point.

It confirmed boss Mauricio Pochettino's assertion that Spurs would not be among the favourites to win this season's competition and though the draw means they will still be expected to get out of this group – which also features Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade – with relative ease.

They could have laid down a big marker towards that goal, but instead will be heading back to London on the back of a difficult night and with a 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday at Leicester to prepare for.

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Xavi backs Raheem Sterling to become world's best player

Former Barcelona captain Xavi has claimed that Raheem Sterling is fully capable of eclipsing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to become the best player in world football.

Messi and Ronaldo have long been considered as the two outstanding players in world football, but the former will be 33 next summer and injuries appear to be catching up on him.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, will turn 35 in the early stages of 2020, and it remains to be seen how long the Portugal international has left in top-level action.

Xavi mentioned the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mohamed Salah as possible replacements for the duo as the best player in the world, but the legendary figure has insisted that Sterling "is winning that race".

"Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the best-player-in-the-world awards for so many years now, it's hard to remember a time before them," The Mirror quotes Xavi as saying.

"Messi is the best ever for me - and even though they're both still playing at a very high level - there will come the day not so long away when somebody else must step into those shoes.

"You look at young players who can be crowned the future best in the world and you still think of Neymar, Mbappe, Salah, and of course Sterling. I look at the moment - and Sterling is winning that race."

Sterling has scored six times in six appearances for the Citizens this season, while the former Liverpool winger has struck 75 times and registered 65 assists in 197 outings for the English champions in all competitions.

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