Arsenal splashed the cash in a way they haven’t often done under manager Arsene Wenger during the summer transfer window. It went after some of the biggest names coming from the World Cup and built a squad with a ton of promise.
One of the players fans were counting on to help inspire this squad was German star Mesut Özil, who made the move to the Emirates last season and looked very good during the German’s run to the World Cup title.
However, the start to both the English Premier League and Champions League seasons have been less than stellar. Now comes the news on Wednesday that Özil suffered a significant knee injury and according to the DFB (Germany’s soccer governing body) could be out for upwards of 10-12 months.
Arsenal are a bit more hopeful according to the report by ESPNFC, saying he is likely out until the new year.
Either way, there’s little doubt that Özil’s absence is a blow to a team that doesn’t need many more difficulties on the injury front.
The Gunners are already dealing with a nagging ankle injury to English star Jack Wilshire, and are already missing midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta along with defender Mathieu Debuchy and forward Olivier Giroud too.
If you’re keeping score, that’s three likely starting midfielders and two other likely starters already out of the squad — one that has no easy task in front of it in the next few months.
Özil will miss home clashes with Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund in the EPL and Champions League respectively, as well as missing a potentially game-changing clash with Liverpool at Anfield on Dec. 20.
In total, he will miss four Champions League group stage matches, including a very tricky set of ties away to Anderlecht and Galatasaray in the next two UCL matchdays.
Arsenal’s depth has always been a bit of a concern, as they failed to secure the buyback of Cesc Fabregas this offseason. One could argue that of the four big contenders for the title, Arsenal had the weakest depth overall.
Özil was one of the key cogs to Arsenal’s attack…or that’s what was supposed to happen when he signed from Real Madrid before last year. However, since his arrival, he’s had just eight goals in 46 appearances for the club overall.
While Arteta and Ramsey’s injuries appear to be less serious than Özil’s the combination of the trio of injuries is the latest example of a club that is snake bitten. This was a season that had great expectations after Arsenal lifted the FA cup last season, and returned to the Champions League for a record 17th-straight year.
If Wenger can’t find a cohesive and potent attack in the absence of Özil and others, it could be a long year at the Emirates for Gunner supporters.