Mesut Ozil in line for Arsenal return, says Arsene Wenger
Arsenal's record signing Mesut Ozil could make his return from a hamstring injury at Hull City this weekend, manager Arsene Wenger revealed on Thursday
London: Arsenal's record signing Mesut Ozil could make his return from a hamstring injury at Hull City this weekend, manager Arsene Wenger revealed on Thursday.
Mesut Ozil. Pic/Getty Images
"I think (Kieran) Gibbs will be out for the weekend but (Nacho) Monreal is possibly available and Ozil could be available to travel as well," Wenger told a press conference. "I will see that on Friday and Saturday."
Germany international Ozil has not played since going off at half-time of his side's 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 on March 11.
The 25-year-old has had a fitful first campaign in England since arriving from Real Madrid in a £42.5 million ($70.7 million, 51.6 million euros) deal last September, but Wenger believes that he will come good next season.
"He had a period where he was tired because he was not used to playing through the season and he was a bit jaded," Wenger said.
"Mesut Ozil is a fantastic football player and I would put him on the list to be player of the season next season."
Arsenal will also have French midfielder Mathieu Flamini back from suspension for Sunday's trip to Hull, which will serve as a dress rehearsal for next month's FA Cup final.
Both Arsenal and Hull will be granted only 25,000 tickets for the game on May 17 and Wenger is worried that the relative lack of partisan fans could make for a poor atmosphere at the 80,000-seater area.
"One of the charms of the FA Cup final was always that the stadium was really divided in two," said the Frenchman, whose side beat Wigan Athletic in a semi-final penalty shootout at Wembley last weekend.
"It's a shame that it doesn't happen any more because that was always an absolutely fantastic atmosphere.
"I remember I have been at European Championship finals and World Cup finals and always there's a little bit of a lack of atmosphere because it is so divided. I think the atmosphere will lose a little bit."
Everton's unexpected 3-2 loss at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday preserved Arsenal's place in the top four in the Premier League, but Wenger has warned of the dangers of complacency in the race for Champions League qualification.
"It is of course a big encouragement but there is a lot of work to do for us and that's what we want to continue to do," he said.
"We have a big game at Hull. We just want to prepare as well as we can for it. I think mentally we are in a better shape than a week ago because we had two important wins, and that of course puts us in a better condition on the confidence front."