According to The Times (£), Mesut Ozil has been granted some time off to help him recover from an ongoing back problem.
The German wasn’t part of the squad for the FA Cup game against Sutton on Monday night, and Snapchatted a picture of himself on a plane.
The report says he’s gone back to Germany, having been given permission by the club to do so as we don’t play again until March 4th when we travel to Anfield to face the Mugsmashers.
Now, the cynical amongst you will say that a back problem is the most vague of injuries, a kind of cover-all when there’s something else going on. Unquestionably, some people will make a hilarious gag using the word ‘spineless’.
On the other hand, it might go some way to explaining why a player of undoubted quality has been struggling in recent months. After a great first half to the season, the 28 year old has become a shadow of his former self, and it does seem quite plausible that an ongoing fitness issue is playing a part in that.
Ozil is expected back in training this week, and despite the long period between games, there’s no bonding trip to sunnier climes, and it seems that there’s a lot of hard work and some measure of soul-searching to do on the training ground.
The fixture list is challenging to say the least. After Liverpool it’s Bayern Munich at home, Lincoln in the cup, a tricky away tie at West Brom and then Man City at home at the start of April.
There’s also a postponed match with Southampton to be rearranged, adding some congestion to the list in the final months of the season.