Hull v Arsenal: Mesut Ozil returns to give Arsenal a timely boost ahead of Premier League run-in and FA Cup final

Ozil took part in training on the eve of Arsenal's FA Cup final dress rehearsal with Hull

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The Independent Football

Arsenal’s top-four and FA Cup hopes were given a boost on Saturday by the sight of a refreshed Mesut Özil taking part in full training on Saturday, ahead of their final-rehearsal with Hull on Sunday.

The Gunners travel north to take on the Tigers with the two sides set to meet again at Wembley on May 17th for the FA Cup final. Ozil, the £42.5m club-record signing from Real Madrid, has not played since the Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Bayern Munich when the German limped off at the Allianz Arena at half-time as he looked clearly off the pace.

Özil made an electric start to his Arsenal career, helping the club rise to the top of the Premier League table with their impressive form in the first half of the season. Since the turn of the year, the 25-year-old has looked distinctly off the pace, scoring just one goal in 13 appearances and has looked to have suffered from a lack of a winter break in the Premier League – something he has been used to in his career.

Arsene Wenger admitted on Thursday that Özil has gone through a jaded period, but tipped him to return from injury and set the final stages of their season alight.


So much so, that he has already predicted the attacking midfielder will be voted Player of the Season next year – a bold claim if ever by the Frenchman who may well leave the Emirates this summer as he continues to stall on a new contract.

Lukas Podolski, who scored twice in the 3-1 win over West Ham, trains alongside compatriot Mesut Özil

Arsenal got their wish in seeing Everton slip-up in the 3-2 home defeat to a rejuvenated Crystal Palace side that has essentially secured their Premier League status with the victory, largely thanks to manager Tony Pulis’ efforts since replacing Ian Holloway.

Özil’s talent is unquestioned, and Arsenal supporters can also look forward to seeing him link up with fellow-midfielder Aaron Ramsey as the Welsh midfielder made his own return from a 14 week lay-off in the 3-0 defeat to Everton that looked to have cost them Champions League football next season.

The two were unstoppable in the first four months of the season and along with Olivier Giroud helped the Gunners to score 48 goals before Ramsey suffered the thigh strain on Boxing Day that kept him sidelined for over three months.

Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal, Mesut Özil and Tomas Rosicky attack Matieu Flamin as the Arsenal players joke around in training

However, with Özil all smiles at the club’s London Colney training base, the north London club could finally end their nine-year trophy drought next month. Who’d have thought that two weeks ago.