Arsene Wenger has warned Mesut Ozil of injury risks after the German has starred in all but one of Gunners' Premier League games this season. The Gunners play Newcastle United on Saturday, January 2, their fourth game in just under a week in the festive period.
The manager will be hoping for his team to come unscathed from the game, with the fixtures comparatively thinner in the weeks ahead as the team takes a respite from league action in the upcoming weekend to fulfil their commitments in the FA Cup. The holders are likely to rest a few players for the game, with Alexis Sanchez set to return after missing an entire month on account of a hamstring injury.
Ozil has 16 assists to his name this campaign, four shy of Thierry Henry's Premier League record of 20 which he amassed with the Gunners. The 27-year-old has also scored three goals. His absence will be a massive blow for the Gunners, who are already without seven players for the period ahead. Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Sanchez are the absentees. The north London club can open up a six-point gap over City should they manage to win against Newcastle.
"At the moment, he doesn't practice a lot. We rest him a lot between the games. I gave him one-week holiday during the international break. He is a guy who, once the basic fitness is there between the games, he wants to play," Wenger said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"There are types of players, sometimes the most technical players, it looks like it demands less energy for them to play – it is just natural for them. You look as well at the impact he can have on other players.
"The Premier League is very tight and if you go into the decisive game and if you rest players, the other players think subconsciously, they don't tell you, but they think: 'Why?' Even the player himself," he added.