Revealed: Arsenal key player absent from training ahead of Stoke clash
By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes
Mesut Ozil was absent from training on Saturday as Arsenal made final preparations for their Premier League clash against Stoke.
But the in-form German playmaker is expected to travel with the squad for their trip to the Britannia Stadium on Sunday and should still start.
Alexis Sanchez took part in full training 24 hours before the Stoke match after a six-week absence with a hamstring injury as Arsenal prepare to recall the Chilean.
Ozil has been wrapped in cotton wool by Arsene Wenger over the last month as the manager attempts to keep his star player in prime condition.
He was rested for the Gunner’s FA Cup third round clash against Sunderland a week ago and has trained only intermittently over the last month.
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Football Insider revealed on 2 January that Ozil led Arsenal’s title charge over the festive period despite struggling with a virus and hardly trained due to the condition, which was later confirmed by Wenger.
Ozil delivered man-of-the-match displays in the Gunners’ wins over Manchester City and Bournemouth to take Arsene Wenger’s team to the Premier League summit.
The Gunners’ £40million record signing has been one of the standout players in the Premier League this season, supplying 16 assists, double that of his closest rival Kevin de Bruyne and just four adrift of Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single campaign.
City reclaimed Premier League top spot on Saturday afternoon following a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, but Leicester and Arsenal had still not played their weekend fixtures.