Mesut Özil has not travelled with the rest of the Arsenal squad for the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 clash with Olympiacos on Thursday due to personal reasons.
Mikel Arteta’s men flew out to Greece on Wednesday after training in the morning, with the club aiming to better their performance in the tournament last season when they were comfortably beaten 4-1 in the final by Chelsea.
For just the second time in the Premier League under Arteta, the Gunners secured three points with a 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday – a match in which Özil was instrumental. The 31-year-old scored his first goal of the season and earned plaudits for his performance in what was just the Gunners‘ seventh league win all season.
The omission of the attacking midfielder comes as a surprise given that he took part in training at London Colney, but the club have since confirmed on their official website that he will not in the squad for Thursday’s showdown as a result of personal reasons.
That will likely see Dani Ceballos thrust into the number ten role, having played in a deeper position alongside Granit Xhaka against Steve Bruce’s side.
There is also bad news regarding Lucas Torreira, who was an unused substitute at the weekend. Torreira has remained in London due to illness, though it is added that if there is ‘significant improvement’ in his condition then he could potentially join up with the squad in time for the game.
One player who could be in line for an appearance in January loan signing Pablo Mari. The Spaniard joined on a temporary deal from Flamengo before the transfer deadline, but has not made his Arsenal bow yet as he bids to regain match fitness.
Fellow winter addition Cedric Soares is not yet fit as he recovers from a knee injury, with the club confirming he will return to full training before the end of the month, while Kieran Tierney continues his rehabilitation from a dislocated shoulder. The summer acquisition from Celtic is due back in training around the same time as Cedric.
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