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Arsenal World Cup winners set to miss Premier League opener

Arsene Wenger concedes that Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski unlikely to feature against Crystal Palace

Can Ozil help Arsenal over the line?

Arsene Wenger concedes that Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski unlikely to feature against Crystal Palace

Having helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski are all enjoying a well-deserved break, with Arsene Wenger allowing the trio to return to pre-season training on 11 August.

That is just five days before the start of the Premier League season, with Arsenal hosting Crystal Palace and Wenger admits that none of his German trident are likely to feature against the Eagles.

The majority of the Arsenal squad are in New York as part of their pre-season tour of friendly matches and their manager is far from happy with the hectic schedule of travelling before starting the season in earnest.

The Frenchman said: ‘I have given them a good break because I have experience of players who have been in the World Cup final. You need a rest.

‘Will they be ready? Mertesacker prepares well – but for the first game I don’t think they will be ready for August 16.’

‘A post-World Cup year is always very difficult and short, the World Cup final was July 13th and the start of the Premier League is August 16,’ said Wenger.

‘From FIFA we are obliged to give four weeks holiday to the players, so I don’t know how all that works together. It looks impossible to me.

‘A post-World Cup year is always very difficult for every big club because the players have been away.’