Unai Emery on Wednesday night claimed Mesut Ozil needed a rest – after playing just 71 minutes so far this season.
Ozil was surprisingly left at home and out of the 19-man squad Emery picked for Arsenal’s Europa League opener against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.
Sokratis was also omitted, though his absence was more understandable having played every minute of Arsenal’s season so far.
Ozil, though, featured for the first time in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Watford and was taken off with 19 minutes left.
Head coach Emery said: ‘We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for Thursday and Sokratis and Mesut they rest this match.
‘I prefer after the Sunday match [against Watford for him] to rest [after] that match and to train and to be ready for Sunday [against Aston Villa].’
Ozil has an increasingly sketchy appearance record having missed a number of games through minor injury and illness.
For a period last season Emery deemed Ozil unsuitable for physically tough away games.
He expects the clash with Bundesliga side Frankfurt – semi-finalists last season and knocked out on penalties by eventual winners Chelsea – to be Arsenal’s hardest in Group F.
Though he insisted that was not a factor in his decision to leave the World Cup winner out of his travelling party.
Emery said: ‘The first match he played on Sunday he played and was good physically, also giving us his capacity and skills. After his first minutes for us were good, now he is ready to help us not tomorrow but Sunday. We are going to play another match and tomorrow we are thinking to do some rotation.’
Ozil last played in Germany June 2018 in a pre-World Cup friendly against Austria and was booed, along with Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan, then and in their final warm-up game against Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen.
The duo had causing a storm when they posed for pictures with controversial Turkish president Recep Erdogan amid strained relations between the two countries.
Ozil then retired from international football following the tournament claiming he had been discriminated against and disrespected by the German FA and media.
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.