World Cup winners to miss Arsenal league opener

Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker were part of Joachim Low's all-conquering squad in Brazil, but they look set to be absent for Arsenal's game against Crystal Palace on August 16.

World governing body FIFA implements a mandatory four-week break for players after the World Cup, meaning the trio will have limited training time before the Palace clash.

Manager Arsene Wenger 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 I don't think they will be ready for August 16."

Wenger would have liked the Germans back earlier, but understands it is near impossible in a World Cup year.

"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," he said.

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

Arsenal face the New York Red Bulls in a friendly on Saturday.

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