In Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in the second leg of the last 16 Champions League competition, Mesut Ozil was ‘forced’ to come off at half time with a suspected tight hamstring. I put the word forced in inverted commas because at the time I didn’t believe the news. I felt that Wenger wanted to make the move for tactical reasons rather than an injury concern however Arsene Wenger later told Sky Germany in his post-match press conference:
“Ozil’s injury is quite bad. Ozil has a hamstring that looks quite serious. I don’t know how long. For sure he will miss Tottenham. He’s out. We have to make a scan to see how bad it is but he’s out for a few weeks. We hope it’s not so bad.”
It was suspected to be one that would rule him out for a week and a half at most, however since then we have had to learn that the damage to his hamstring is a lot worse than originally feared, with the result coming back as a number of six weeks at the very latest. The way things have been going, that could end up being longer and there are only two months until the end of the season and the FA cup final. It’s a major blow to the Gunners no matter his level of performance at the moment because despite the majority claiming that he is on a bad run of form (something that cannot really be denied); he still holds that special element about him which means he can perform a moment of magic in an instant.
I previously stated that with Wilshere also being ruled out for a matter of weeks, that it was not as bad as initially thought. His injury will allow players with a desire to impress, play out of their skin to show the manager exactly why they should continue to play after Wilshere returns and I think it will be the same with Ozil. Gnabry will certainly now get his chance on the wing, with Cazorla surely being moved into the CAM role, whilst Rosicky is sure to feature more. It also opens up more opportunities for Oxlade Chamberlain and Podolski, so we will have no need to worry about replacing a player who was on a mediocre run of form.
However what is a little bit worrying is a growing injury list at a very important part of the season. Ozil, Wilshere and Walcott are all ruled out with long injuries, whilst Ramsey’s return date is still unknown. With major games coming up we are really going to miss these players if the rest don’t manage to step up, however with some faith and desire, they should be at least be able to recuperate some of the form demonstrated by those that are lying on the injury table.