Mesut Özil has been allowed an extra day off from Arsenal duty to allow him time to return to Germany and recover from a gruelling run of fixtures that has seen the midfielder appear jaded and in need of a rest.
Arsene Wenger allowed his entire squad a two-day break from training after the 4-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday, which came at the end of a run of fixtures which saw the Gunners face Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Liverpool twice.
However, Özil was given an extra day off according to the Mirror, and spent his free time seeing friends and family back in his homeland. The 25-year-old is due to fly back on Tuesday and is hopeful of returning from the dead leg that led to Wenger leaving him out of the Sunderland win.
Özil has appeared significantly short on confidence recently which culminated in his below-par performance against Bayern last Wednesday. With Arsenal on the front-foot early, Özil won a penalty in the ninth minute only to see his tame effort saved by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and he look deeply affected by the miss for the remainder of the match.
Many criticised Wenger’s decision to firstly substitute Santi Cazorla in order to send on replacement goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski after Wojciech Szczesny’s red card, and then replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Tomas Rosicky when Özil looked out on his feet, but the German couldn’t be criticised for his work rate as he ran the third-furthest distance of any Arsenal player – his 11.68km only beaten by Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini.
Wenger will be hoping that the extra time off will help his £42.5m record signing get back to his best ahead of their busy March schedule, in which the Gunners will face Everton in the FA Cup, Bayern Munich in the Champions League last-16 second leg and Premier League fixtures against Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton once more.