Arsenal v Crystal Palace: Arsene Wenger confirms Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski won't be back until Everton

German World Cup winners will miss Crystal Palace and Besiktas

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The Independent Football

Arsenal Wenger has confirmed that his German World Cup winning trio Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski will not be in consideration for Arsenal's  first two matches of the season - Crystal Palace tomorrow and Besiktas away in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The three players have been given an extended break after Germany's World Cup triumph last month, and will now not return until Everton away next weekend.

Ahead of the new season, Wenger was asked about Arsenal's title chances, and says that he believes Arsenal should be classed as one of the favourites.

"The favourites [for the title] are Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Man City and us,” the Frenchman explained. "I believe we have a chance because we were top for a long time but we have to take more points from the top teams.

"I'm happy with all the players I have signed. They have integrated with the team very well."

Wenger also spoke about his "surprise" at manager Tony Pulis's departure from Palace. Pulis quit just 48 hours before the match against the Gunners because of a row of transfer activity.

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“It was a complete surprise for me,” said Wenger. “The only thing you can say is he's done a remarkable job there.”