Arsenal announced on Friday that Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac will not be available for the clash against Newcastle on Sunday due to “further security incidents.”
The team released a statement about its decision:
“Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac will not be part of the squad for our opening match against Newcastle following further security incidents which are being investigated by the police. The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority and we have taken this decision following discussion with the players and their representatives. We are liaising with the police and are providing the players and their families with ongoing support. We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible. We will not be making any further comment on the matter.”
While the statement didn’t mention any specific incidents, it’s almost certainly due to Özil and Kolasinac being targeted in an attempted robbery at the end of July. The two were driving in London when two mopeds pulled up alongside the car and tried to rob them. Kolasinac, who had been sitting in the passenger seat, got out of the car and fought off the robbers, who were brandishing knives. Both players escaped without injury.
Özil and Kolasinac didn’t play the following weekend when Arsenal lost to Lyon in the Emirates Cup, but had been expected to play against Newcastle in the Premier League opener.
After facing Newcastle on Sunday, Arsenal plays Burnley six days later on August 17, and then Liverpool on August 24. There’s no indication if Özil and Kolasinac will be able to take the pitch for any of those games.
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