Mesut Özil will miss today’s North London Derby with back spasms, according to a tweet from Arsenal. The German midfielder did not train on Friday, but there was no indication that he would miss out until he was not named in the match day squad against Tottenham.
This is not the first time this season Özil has missed a game because of back spasms. He missed the 5-1 win at Fulham for the same reason, and the injury first gave him problems after he traveled to Qarabag. Back injuries seem to have become a recurring issue for the German - he was given a full week off in February to rest his back and sat out the last few weeks of last season in an effort to get his back healthy before the World Cup.
Last week, a healthy-as-far-as-we-know Özil was relegated to the bench against Bournemouth, and Unai Emery suggested he was not entirely happy with the German’s recent performances. With Özil a late scratch just a week later, there will be (and already are) some raised eyebrows about what might really be happening behind the scenes.
Regardless of the scuttlebutt, any recurring injury is a worry, especially when it’s your highest-paid player and arguably most important attacking piece.