Mesut Ozil had a habit of missing Premier League matches against so-called lesser sides due a minor injury last season, but that extended to the north London derby on Sunday.
That minor issue actually proved to be something of a blessing for Unai Emery in that 4-2 victory over Tottenham; in the German’s absence allowed him to deploy two-high tempo gameplans – one for each half – in a richly deserved win.
At one time, Ozil was so central to Arsenal’s creativity in midfield, but in the first half on Sunday, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan drifted inside into the half-spaces behind Eric Dier and allowed Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac to bomb forward.
When a made four minute spell meant that first half dominance was not reflected on the scoreline, Emery came up with a frighteningly direct 3-4-1-2 system, with the introduction of Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey.
Ozil remains a strong attacking weapon but given how well Arsenal played on Sunday, it is tough to see why Emery would rush him back for the trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United tomorrow night.
The German may well come in handy at other points of the season – to break down more limited opposition – but he is not needed as the Gunners look to make it 20 games unbeaten against United.