Mesut Ozil missed Arsenal's fifth round FA Cup win over Sutton United on Monday (20 February) due to a back problem and has reportedly been given the week off to recuperate.
The German midfielder has come under a barrage of criticism in recent weeks for his performances, and more so after the Gunners' 5-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday (15 February). According to the Times, Ozil has been playing despite the back injury but has been given the week to recover, which has seen him travel to Germany to spend time with family.
Arsenal do not play again until 4 March when they travel to Anfield and the 28-year-old midfielder is expected to be fit for the clash against Liverpool. Despite his recent downturn in form, the midfielder retains the full support of Arsene Wenger, and the Frenchman believes a period of rest will help Ozil recapture his early season form.
Ozil has been granted the week off only after being given assurances that he will return to training by the end of the week to prepare for their games against Liverpool, Bayern and Lincoln City in three different competitions. The rest of the squad will remain in London and continue their regular training schedule. Unlike the Reds, who went to Spain for a warm weather training camp during their fixture-break, Arsenal have not announced any such plans.
The north London club's season has crumbled in recent weeks following back-to-back losses in the Premier League and their humbling in the Champions League – a sort of Déjà vu moment owing to similar implosions in the seasons gone by. The FA Cup remains their only realistic target for a trophy this season which has increased the pressure on Wenger, with calls for his departure increasing from certain sections of supporters and former players.