Mesut Ozil Shouldn't Be Rushed Back to the Pitch Following Knee Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2013

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 18:  Mesut Oezil of Arsenal  applauds the crowd during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Olympique de Marseille and Arsenal at Stade Velodrome on September 18, 2013 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Arsenal dodged a major bullet with the minor nature of Mesut Ozil's knee injury. They shouldn't press their luck by rushing him out on the pitch too early.

In Germany's 5-3 win over Sweden on Tuesday, Ozil was subbed off in the 82nd minute for Julian Draxler. As the Swiss Ramble pointed out, the 25-year-old midfielder was limping off the pitch and immediately went to the dressing room.

According to The Telegraph, the knee injury Ozil suffered isn't too serious, and he may even be able to play on Saturday against Norwich:

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil is expected to be in contention to face Norwich on Saturday despite being substituted during Germany's final World Cup qualifying match in Sweden.


Although Özil, who turned 25 on Tuesday, was replaced in the closing stages of the 5-3 win in Stockholm, during which he scored, it is understand that the knock the player received to his knee was considered minor and the German Football Association was not aware of any major issues before he flew direct back to London.

Özil is, like the rest of Arsenal's internationals, set to return to the club for assessment on Thursday, when it is hoped further tests will confirm no lasting problems as Arsene Wenger looks to finalise his plans for a return to domestic action.

When it was reported that Ozil had limped off the pitch, plenty of Arsenal supporters had to be talked off the ledge. They've seen enough injuries to key players already this season. Having Ozil get hurt was just piling on, especially with the club at the top of the table and everything going right.

Now it appears the panic was premature. Arsenal got a bit lucky, as the most innocuous of knee problems can turn into a season-ending injury.

With that in mind, Arsene Wenger would be wise to consider giving Ozil a bit of a rest on Saturday. Perhaps the German star could be good for a 15-30-minute cameo, but starting him might be a bit too much so close to the injury having occurred.

SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 28:  Mesut Oezil (L) of Arsenalruns at Ben Davies (R) of Swansea City during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium on September 28, 2013 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Michael S
Michael Steele/Getty Images

You see it quite often. A player carrying a knock is given a start anyway. He aggravates that injury and ends up missing much longer than he should have. Then everybody second-guesses the manager and asks why that player was even on the pitch in the first place.

It's true Ozil isn't recovering from a muscle tear or some other injury that's kept him out for months. You'd still have to believe that knee is going to be a little tender by the time Saturday rolls around. As his manager, you'd be smarter to sacrifice one match if it means your star player will get past whatever problem he has.

If Arsenal were facing off with Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool or Manchester City, perhaps you'd take a risk on starting Ozil. In one of the biggest matches of your league season, you'd rather have a player like that at 80-90 percent than any other replacement at 100 percent.

However, the Gunners have a home match against Norwich. The Canaries are 18th in the table with just seven points. Even an Arsenal squad without Ozil should be able to get three points in this fixture.

By limiting Ozil's playing time this weekend, he'll be 100 percent fit when the club takes on Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday in the Champions League. That's a much more important match where Ozil's abilities could prove the difference.


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