It's Tuesday, and the Arsenal squad has arrived in Istanbul ready to play the first half of a £20,000,000 fixture, and three of his major players are deemed unfit / not prepared / insert excuse here, due to a World Cup hangover. A world cup which finished well over a month ago. A competition in which, lest we forget, Podolski never played in the final or semifinal for that matter, but André Schürrle, who played 90 minutes in the final, was mysteriously recovered enough from his exertions in Brasil to play 80 minutes for Chelsea, a day earlier than the Arsenal players are required, and score the goal which put Chelsea in command of that tie.
It's utterly ridiculous! The Gunners game in Turkey is massive for the team, both in terms of financial reward, and presentation of the club as a viable move for prospective players. Arsenal should have their best 11 available, and the idea that professional players from the same national team require extra recovery time is ludicrous. Arsenal may well come through the two games irrespective of Ozil et al's absence but that isn't the point.
These players are professionals, who are paid increasingly crazy sums of money every week to turn out, perform, and justify both the support their fans give them, and the money said fans expend while doing so. I paid €85 for my sparkly new Puma shirt, (which isn't too tight incidentally), which I begrudged utterly but understood was possibly required in order to fund players like Ozil and Alexis's wages. Wages which are paid because the players are expected to perform at the highest level. If Arsenal fail to reach the Champions League group stages, and their best team isn't available to at least try to attain that position, I think it's disgusting.
Playing for your country is an honour and a privilege, that's not deniable. However, allowing it to interfere with the job which thrust you into the position to represent them in the first place, is negligence, especially when the games in question you're likely to be affected for are so important. Arsene Wenger should have insisted that Podolski, Mertesacker and Ozil were available, fully fit, and ready for tonight's game.
If Jose Mourinho can have Schürrle up, ready, prepared, and scoring, on his first game of the season, then Wenger should have his German contingent more than ready for what is Arsenal's third game. That they are not, reflects badly on Arsenal as a club, Wenger as a manager, and the players as professionals who should be striving to play in these kinds of games rather than shirking their responsibilities to the club and fans who pay their wages.