Arsenal’s midfield star Mesut Ozil made his eagerly anticipated return from injury three weeks ago and the German international has come back into Arsene Wenger’s first team hungrier than ever. Ozil has flourished since his return to the side and could he be the much-needed catalyst to push the Gunners into the Premier League top four.
The German superstar, who suffered knee ligament damage in the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea back in early-October, has slotted back into Arsenal’s starting lineup like he’s never been away. It’s been no coincidence that since Ozil made his long-awaited return to the side, the Gunners have won all three of their subsequent fixtures, and he was particularly influential in the 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa on Sunday.
Speaking before Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Stoke City – the game Ozil returned in – the Arsenal boss praised his midfielder’s desire to get back on the pitch, Wenger told The Guardian:
“When you come back having won the World Cup, even if I gave them the holiday they needed, the hunger is a bit artificial. You have to be frustrated from competition and slowly get back to realise how much you miss it to come back to normal. I had that before with players. He looks hungry – he worked extremely hard to come back. He pushed himself to the limit of what you can absorb physically,” Wenger said.
The 26-year-old’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the north London club. Arsenal undoubtedly struggled for midfield flair in his absence, but managed to progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League and are now level on points with Southampton for the much-coveted fourth spot. Ozil made his first Arsenal start for over three months in the 3-2 FA Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion and his first Premier League start the following week – marking both occasions with a stellar performance and a goal.
With injuries to Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and indeed Ozil; it’s been a very disrupted season for the Arsenal midfield. But with Ramsey and Ozil’s recent returns, and The Telegraph reporting Wilshere is on course to make his own long-awaited return from injury against Monaco later this month, things are starting to look a lot brighter in the centre of the park for the Gunners.
The ex-Real Madrid star has been a vital cog in Arsenal’s machine since making the high-profile move from the Spanish capital in September 2013. Despite minor lapses of indifferent form, overall, Ozil’s £42.5m fee from Real is beginning to look like it was worth every penny. The composed German, who’s enjoyed life at the Emirates since making the move to England, has already stacked up over 50 games for the Gunners – netting 10 times in the process.
The way Arsenal’s season is going to finish will have a lot to do with how well Ozil performs. On his day, the German World Cup winner is simply unplayable and one of the world’s best midfielders. If Ozil can continue with his impressive displays of late, then the Gunners could be set for another very successful campaign this year.