As we all know, much of Europe goes into football shut down mode over the Christmas and New Year period, giving the players a chance to be with their families for once, and giving them all a chance to have a short break.
True they have to train to stay match fit, but on the continent the players are generally a million miles away from having to play 5 games across a two week period.
So it is not surprising that there are stories surrounding Mesut Ozil and his alleged injury. Ozil has dipped a little in form since he hit the ground running with his performance at Sunderland, and who could blame Wenger if he did indeed feel that Ozil needed a break?
But, there’s no doubt that the two injuries to Ozil were real enough. On October 15 he played in Germany’s 5-3 victory over Sweden and got a knee injury, having scored just before half time. He came back but then missed the game against Newcastle with a shoulder injury.
Since then all has been confusion. If you check the papers and web sites today you’ll find every opinion ranging from “out for three weeks” down to “back for the game against Tottenham”.
There are also statements from Wenger suggesting that Ozil says he is fine and wants to play, but the manager suggests that he is not 100% and so no chances will be taken.
For what it is worth I suspect there will be no chances taken, because Wenger knows very well what an FA Cup match can be about, he knows what games against Tottenham are all about, and he is very well aware what games against Adebayor are about.
It is probably the final point that will make Wenger not play Ozil, simply because Adebayor is such a loose cannon. Every Arsenal fan with a memory knows that Adebayor can be a brilliant player. But we all also remember what that player did to van Persie and how he deliberately incited the crowd with his goal celebrations.
Adebayor is quite capable of having a quiet game, an indifferent game, a brilliant game, or a game in which he behaves like a man who has lost his marbles and is utterly intent on taking everyone else down with him.
And in such a situation does one want Ozil jinxing his way around, floating past the big man like he’s not there?
The answer would be yes, if this were a vital league game. But it is not. The Arsenal team is weakened by injuries, Tottenham are on a high, and Arsenal don’t need the FA Cup any more than they needed the league cup.
Which is also why the boy wonder Gedion Zelalem who is likely to become the first ever Arsenal player born after Wenger took over at Arsenal, to play for Arsenal.
The reality is that the cries for “any trophy at any price” don’t appeal to Wenger. It is one of the two big prizes he is after, or nothing. And Ozil is needed for those prizes. Injured or not he will be saved for another day.