Mesut Ozil has not been included in Unai Emery’s Arsenal squad to face Tottenham at the Emirates on Sunday because of a back spasm.
The Gunners are set to take on their arch-rivals at home just after 2 pm, with only three points separating the two sides in the Premier League table.
Emery’s men are unbeaten in 18 matches across all competitions and look capable of mounting a realistic challenge for a top-four finish, while also making a play for silverware in the Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
However, they have been dealt a blow heading into the north London derby as Ozil has been left out of the final matchday squad, having suffered a back spasm injury – as per Daily Mirror journalist Will Magee on Twitter.
At Arsenal today for the first of my two north London derbies this month. Mesut Ozil out for Arsenal with a back spasm, which sounds painful.
— Will Magee (@W_F_Magee) December 2, 2018
The German midfielder has been a key part of Arsenal’s success over the first four months of the 2018-19 campaign and will be a big miss in the middle of the park, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi starting in his absence behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Alexandre Lacazette has to make do to with a spot on the bench against Spurs, while Lucas Torreira retains his place in the starting line-up after a string of impressive performances.
A win for the Gunners could see them leapfrog the Lilywhites in the table, but the visitors are on a great run of their own, having won their last six matches in succession.
Ozil’s creativity and guile in midfield would have been a great weapon for Arsenal but they must now find a way to succeed without the talismanic playmaker, with defeat in front of their own fans absolutely unthinkable at this crucial stage of the season.