Arsenal star Mesut Ozil misses West Brom clash due to knee injury
The German was a noticeable absentee from the matchday squad named by Arsene Wenger on Sunday for Arsenal’s final game of 2017.
Ozil has been heavily linked with a transfer to Manchester United in recent weeks with the attacker’s contract set to expire next summer.
But, a knee problem ruled Ozil out of the Premier League fixture and it is the first top-flight game the 29-year-old has missed since early November.
Alexi Iwobi was called upon to replace Ozil and was handed the chance to start in attack alongside Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette.
Granit Xhaka keeps his place in the starting eleven after overcoming a thigh injury while Jack Wilshere started his fifth league game in a row.
Arsenal fans will be disappointed to see Ozil missing, but Wenger insisted it was merely an injury.
Arsenal 2017/18 fixtures
Chelsea (H) – Wed Jan 3
Nottingham Forest (A) – Sun Jan 7 (FA Cup)
Chelsea (A) – Wed Jan 10 (EFL Cup)
Bournemouth (A) – Sun Jan 14
Crystal Palace (H) – Sat Jan 20
Chelsea (H) – Wed Jan 24 (EFL Cup)
Swansea (A) – Tues Jan 30
Everton (H) – Sat Feb 3
Tottenham (A) – Sat Feb 10
He said: ‘Ozil who is injured and cannot contribute today. Iwobi comes in for him.’
With a crucial game against Chelsea up next after the Baggies game, Wenger said Ozil had a ‘little chance’ of facing the Blues.
Arsenal welcome Chelsea to the Emirates on Wednesday before taking on their local rivals in a two-legged semi-final EFL Cup tie.
Arsenal XI: Cech, Koscielny, Chambers, Mustafi, Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Kolasinac, Sanchez, Iwobi, Lacazette
Subs: Mertesacker, Ospina, Walcott, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin, Elneny
West Brom XI: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Phillips, Livermore, Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez, Robson-Kanu
Subs: Nyom, Yacob, Myhill, McClean, Burke, Krychowiak, McAuley
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