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Mesut Özil did not travel to Liverpool

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

One of the stranger things about the newly forming Unai Emery time at Arsenal is the use/misuse/lack of use of Mesut Özil. While it is true that Özil has back problems, which don’t follow a predictable recovery/rehab timeline, it is also true that he has an Unai Emery problem.

For whatever reason, the two just don’t seem to get along. There have been rumors of training ground arguments, there have been games where he hasn’t played much, there are other games where he hasn’t played in his typical position, and there are even yet still more games where he hasn’t played at all.

After Wednesday’s game, in which Özil was subbed at half for “tactical reasons”, it looks like this Saturday will be the latter category that I mentioned:

Unless some sort of special arrangement was made for Özil to travel separately, which is highly doubtful, Saturday’s another headscratching chapter in the “What’s up with Mesut” storyline that, regrettably, is dominating the season so far.

There is as yet no word as to the nature of his omission - it could be that his back is flaring up again and he was unable to travel, or it could be the mysteriously referenced “tactics” that has seen Emery sit Özil several times already this season. Either way, an already injury-weakened squad is even more weakened now, which - and bear with me here, I’m not a coach or an expert - doesn’t seem like the best way to face the most rampant team in the league as of right now?