Mesut Ozil Set for Arsenal Return, but Has Record Signing Been Missed?

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2014

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal warms up as a substitute  during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

After Everton's surprise defeat at home to Crystal Palace, Arsenal have received more good news: Mesut Ozil is back.

Speaking in his press conference to preview Arsenal's match away to fellow FA Cup finalists Hull City, Arsene Wenger said, per "It's good to have him back because we had so many offensive players out. He gives you always opportunities to score and I have to test him physically tomorrow and Saturday to see if he can travel."

If Ozil does make the trip up North, it's undoubtedly a huge boost to Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MARCH 10:  Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski walk out during the Arsenal training session at London Colney on March 10, 2014 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Despite his protracted absence with a hamstring injury, Ozil has still created more chances this season than any other Arsenal player. According to Squawka, he has fashioned 63 goalscoring opportunities. Santi Cazorla follows him with 56, and after that there's a big drop-off until Olivier Giroud with 32. Any team would miss that kind of creative contribution.

Chart via

Ozil has eight assists in this season's Premier League. Only five players have more: David Silva, Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Rickie Lambert and Luis Suarez. If Olivier Giroud had a shot accuracy greater than his current rate of 41 percent, who knows how many more assists Ozil might have against his name?

Arsenal have certainly missed the inventiveness Ozil brings their attack. Prior to the confidence-building win over West Ham, the Gunners had scored just four goals in their previous five games. That tally is hardly indicative of the free-flowing football for which Wenger's team are renowned.

Ozil, like Robert Pires before him, can be the oil in their engine. He can make a stodgy team smooth once more. He has the gift of being able to find space in any situation, gliding around the pitch until the critical moment arrives. When it does, he invariably has the technical skill required to make the telling pass. Ozil is a striker's dream.

He definitely suffered after the missed penalty at home to Bayern Munich. That was a huge game for him, and he would have been desperate to make an impact against his countrymen. However, a spell on the sidelines will have given him time to think. He will know there is still a great chance to make an impact on this season.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Mesut Ozil of Arsenal (R) walks out to warm up with team-mate Yaya Sanogo prior to the Barclays Pemier League match between Stoke City and Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium on March 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.
Michael Regan/Getty Images

A Wembley final looms. Ozil has not played much part in Arsenal's FA Cup run to date, but if fit he is a guaranteed starter for the final. A sterling performance there would go some way towards paying back a good chuck of that hefty £42.5 million fee.

Before that, there's a job to do in the Premier League. Despite Everton's recent slip, Arsenal can not afford to become complacent. For all their plaudits, Hull are currently just six points away from the relegation zone. They are not quite safe yet, and will surely be going all-out to take the points this weekend.

Ozil and Arsenal must be on their guard. The Tigers are ready to pounce.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report’s lead Arsenal correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here.