Arsenal Focus - Excitement builds ahead of Ozil debut at Sunderland
It is all Arsenal fans have been talking, more or less swooning, about since the transfer window slammed shut two Monday nights ago. Mesut Ozil, the world class Germany international, has signed for the Gunners from Real Madrid.
Now, finally, after what has seemed like an interminable international break (particularly if you are an England follower), Ozil is set to make his first appearance for the club. The Stadium of Light will play host to the 24-year-old’s maiden game, as struggling Sunderland welcome an Arsenal side that have recovered from that opening-day defeat to Aston Villa to take four consecutive victories.
Arsene Wenger looked as delighted as his supporters when introducing Ozil at the club’s training ground on Thursday afternoon. However, any previous intentions to keep his new superstar on the bench for the trip to Wearside look to have been shelved following the injury suffered by Tomas Rosicky on international duty as well as Jack Wilshere’s poor performance for England in Ukraine.
Ozil looks set to slot straight into the Arsenal midfield alongside the ever-impressive Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini. The returning Frenchman may find himself under pressure from Wilshere but after his combative performance helped the Gunners to that crucial victory over Tottenham a fortnight ago, it is difficult not to see him lining up against Sunderland.
The rest of the side appears to pick itself with Olivier Giroud looking to keep up his record in scoring in every league match so far this season. With Ozil now supplying him with bullets as well as the widemen Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott, the charismatic Frenchman will be confident of more success against a Sunderland team that shipped three at newly-promoted Crystal Palace in their last encounter.
At the back, Thomas Vermaelen has returned to full training. The regular back four of Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs will hardly be quaking at the prospect of facing a Sunderland attack lambasted by manager Paolo Di Canio for their efforts in the Palace defeat.
However, the key to all the excitement and optimism is Ozil. Can the man nicknamed “the king of the assist” during his time in Spain tailor his skills to the Premier League?
Quite simply, the most expensive foreign import in Premier League history is simply too good not to be a success in England. Of course, he is no longer playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria but the likes of Giroud, Walcott, Lukas Podolski as well as Cazorla were far from frugal in front of goal even prior to the arrival of Ozil.
Arsenal have certainly come an extremely long way from the club in crisis they were following that dispiriting collapse at home to Villa. Ironically, they sit in the top four ahead of the trip to Sunderland. With several favourable-looking fixtures ahead as well as the beginning of the Champions League in mid-week, it is an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan.
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