• Premier League

Under-fire Ozil given day off by Wenger

ESPN staff
February 22, 2014
Mesut Ozil is likely not to start against Sunderland while Olivier Giroud could return © AP

Mesut Ozil has been dropped from Arsenal's starting line-up to face Sunderland on Saturday, while Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have returned to Arsene Wenger's side.

When asked about Ozil's situation following his Champions League penalty miss against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Wenger admitted squad rotation was inevitable - and now it has been confirmed his £42.2 million signing has been given the day off for Sunderland's visit to the Emirates.

"You have to rotate until the end of the season when you look at the challenges we have in front of us," Wenger said. "It is vital. We have played at Liverpool, against Man United, against Liverpool, against Bayern Munich against Sunderland. They are only human beings.

"What is important is always the team. You never want to hurt any player but you don't want to give him any favour. You have to pick the team who can win the next game. It's our job and the players' job to adapt to that and not to think too much about individual cases."

Meanwhile, Giroud has been reinstated to the starting line-up after missing Arsenal's last two matches - Wenger had explained Giroud's absence was due to footballing reasons, having previously indicated the striker had needed a rest.

Lukas Podolski has also been given the chance to shine and features alongside Giroud up front. Podolski had not started a Premier League game since Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on February 2.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close