Last night’s Premiere League opening match against Nescastle may have had a favourable ending for Arsenal, but the club’s midfielder Mesut Ozil and left back Sead Kolasinac were omitted from the game. According to the club, the reasons behind the decision to withdraw the two players from the game were security-related. The news comes two weeks after the two men were involved in an altercation in front of a North London restaurant.
The club announced last Friday that the 30-year-old Ozil and the 26-year-old Kolasinac would be sitting out the match due to “further security incidents which are being investigated“ following the incident. So far two suspects have been charged in connection with it, Ferhat Ercan and Salaman Ekinci, both 27 years old. They are due to appear at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court on 6 September.
The Gunners’ annuncement goes on to explain that the decisions to exclude the two players from the match was made following talks with them and their representatives, emphasising that the welfare of their players was top priority: “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.“
News of the incident first broke on 26 July, when it was reported that Ozil and Kolasinac had not been harmed following a brawl with a suspect in an attempted robbery. The attacker, who was on a motorbike and wielded a metal weapon, requested that Kolasinac hand him over his watch, which he refused, after which the two footballers and Ozil’s wife managed to get into their car and left. They were allegedly chased by the attacker for 15 minutes, but luckily managed to escape.
It remains unknown whether Ozil and Kolasinac will take part in the club’s match against Burnley on 17 August.