Arsene Wenger has confirmed Arsenal’s World Cup winners will be given extra rest and will miss the start of the Premier League season.
The Gunners kick off the season at home to Crystal Palace on August 16 and are hot 1.29 favourites to begin their campaign with a win.
However they will have to do it without Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, who have all been given extra rest after helping Germany to World Cup glory.
Wenger says the trio will not return to training until August 11, the day after the Community Shield clash with Manchester City, which they will also miss.
The trio will be a big loss in those two games but Wenger says it is crucial they get some rest following a hectic summer.
“I’ve given them a good break because I’ve experience of players who have been far in the World Cup. You need a rest,” said the Gunners boss.
“Will they be ready? I think Mertesacker certainly because he prepares individually very well. They have a little chance.
“For the first game I don’t think they will be ready for August 16. They come back beginning on August 11. All three.”
The Gunners will be looking to add the Community Shield to the FA Cup they won last season, and are priced at 3.13 to do just that, with Man City installed as the 2.18 favourites.