Arsène Wenger has revealed how Arsenal have managed Mesut Ozil’s fitness during the busy festive period.
The World Cup winner started all three of the Gunners’ games over Christmas, claiming a goal and two assists as the Gunners secured their place at the top of the Premier League.
Ozil is the best form of his career, having directly contributed to 19 league goals already this season, and Wenger believes that the 27-year-old has benefitted from time away from the training ground.
At the moment Mesut doesn't practice a lot, we rest him a lot between the gamesArsène Wenger
“I gave Mesut a one-week holiday during the international break,” he said. “At the moment he doesn't practice a lot, we rest him a lot between the games.
“He is a guy who, once the basic fitness is there between the games, he wants to play. There are types of players, sometimes the most technical players, it looks like it demands less energy for them to play - it is just natural for them.
“Rotation is sensitive more in the centre of the team than on the flanks. If I play Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Joel Campbell, that is not really rotation, but in the heart of the team at centre back or central midfield it is more risky.
“You also look at the impact Ozil can have on other players. The Premier League is very tight and if you go into the decisive game and [rest Ozil or other key players], the other players think subconsciously ‘Why?’, and even the player himself.
“When we lost at Southampton everyone said to me ‘Why didn't you rotate?’ and then when I did change it, ‘Why did you rotate?’. At Southampton we had five days recovery after Manchester City and that should be enough.”Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source