Arsenal star Mesut Ozil had to travel back home with an illness just hours before Sunday’s 1-0 win at Burnley, and is set to miss Wednesday’s game against Huddersfield as well, Arsene Wenger said.
Ozil had trained as normal on Saturday and spent the night with the rest of the team at their hotel ahead of the game, but was a surprise absentee from the Arsenal lineup — which was otherwise unchanged from the derby win over Tottenham.
Wenger said after the game he hadn’t spoken directly to Ozil so couldn’t say what illness he had, adding that Ainsley Maitland-Niles had to make a late journey to Burnley to make up the numbers on the bench.
“The doctor came to see me and said he [Ozil] had to travel back home, he was in the hotel with us,” Wenger told a news conference. “He travelled up with us, then travelled back. We brought Maitland-Niles up who arrived at 1 p.m. because we had only 17 players.”
Alex Iwobi started in Ozil’s place and was later replaced by Jack Wilshere. The Gunners looked headed for a draw until Aaron Ramsey was pushed down in the area in injury time and Alexis Sanchez netted the winner from the spot.
Wenger said Ozil “will certainly be short” for Wednesday’s home game against Huddersfield, which could give Wilshere a chance for his first Premier League start of the season.