Gunners to be without German internationals for Community Shield and Premier League opener.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that German stars Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski are likely to miss the start of the 2014-15 season.
The trio have all been given extra time off after an intensive World Cup campaign, which eventually saw them crowned champions thanks to a 1-0 win over Argentina earlier this month.
While most of Arsenal’s first-team players have been back in training for over a week, Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski will not return until August 11.
That means that they are definitely ruled out of the Community Shield match against Manchester City on August 10.
The World Cup winners will almost certainly miss the Premier League opener with Crystal Palace on August 16 too.
Arsenal’s other August fixtures see them travel to Everton and Leicester City. The Gunners also face a two-legged Champions League qualifier.
“I have given them a good break because I have experience of players who have been in the World Cup final. You need a rest,” the Daily Mail quotes Wenger as saying.
“Will they be ready? Mertesacker prepares well – but for the first game I don’t think they will be ready for August 16.”
Mertesacker started 35 Premier League games last season – only Wojciech Szczesny and Olivier Giroud featured more frequently for Arsenal than the tall centre-back.
Meanwhile, Ozil started 25 games and made one sub appearance, scoring five goals and providing nine assists.
Podolski featured in just 20 league matches last term, 14 of which he started. He scored eight goals and made two assists.
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