Exclusive: Arsenal star player struggling to be in contention for Bournemouth clash
By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Mesut Ozil faces a late fitness test ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Bournemouth on Monday evening, Football Insider sources understand.
Ozil played the full 90 minutes for the Londoners on Boxing Day as they were thrashed 4-0 by Southampton but failed to come close to the heights of his recent outstanding displays.
An Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the German playmaker has been struggling with a virus and has hardly trained over the past week due to the condition.
Arsene Wenger will make a late call on whether to include Ozil in the Arsenal team to face in-form Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on Monday in a match that kicks off at 5.30pm.
The Gunners’ £40million record signing has been one of the standout players in the Premier League this season, supplying 15 assists, seven more than his closest rival Kevin de Bruyne and just five adrift of Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single campaign.
Wenger wants to manage the workload of a player he regards as integral to Arsenal’s title challenge but the problem for the Frenchman is that injuries have robbed him of so many options in midfield and attack.
Alexis Sanchez is sidelined until mid-January and Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky are long-term absentees.
Mathieu Flamini is also doubtful for the Bournemouth match with an ankle problem sustained against Southampton.
Calum Chambers is likely to come into the reckoning to start on Monday night after replacing Flamini for the final 17 minutes at St Mary’s Stadium in central midfield.