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Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac omitted from squad to face Newcastle due to security fears

Two men were arrested close to Mesut Ozil’s house on Thursday sparking the latest security scare around the Arsenal player and his team-mate Sead Kolasinac and causing the players to withdraw from today’s game at Newcastle.

Ferhat Ercan, 27 and Salaman Ekinci, 27, were charged on Friday under Section 4a of the Public Order Act following the incident and are due to appear at Highbury Corner magistrates’ court next month. Ozil and Kolasinac will be given as much time as they need with their families, with no clear indication of when they will resume playing after the pair reported threatening behaviour last week close to their respective homes, which came in the wake of attempted carjack in north London when Kolasinac confronted a man armed with a knife last month.

Police are liaising with the club and the players. Arsenal security staff had already been detailed to provide extra support after the carjack incident. But the situation understandably alarmed the players and their families.

It is an unwelcome and entirely unexpected issue for manager Unai Emery to deal with as Arsenal start the campaign on Sunday but it was clearly inappropriate for the players to be separated from their families and stay in Newcastle on Saturday night whilst feeling under threat.

‘The welfare of our players and their families is always a top priority,’ said Arsenal in a statement. ‘We look forward to welcoming the players back to the squad as soon as possible.’

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