Arsene Wenger is almost certain to put the name of the Arsenal and Germany star Mesut Ozil in his starting line-up to face the Championship club Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow. The Frenchman is clearly keen to get the club record signing back into action and gaining match sharpness for the season ahead.
And this is not just because he wants to rest some of the other Arsenal players. A little bit of Wenger’s reputation is at stake as much as the German playmaker’s own. And it is clear that the Arsenal boss paid so much money for Ozil and backed him against his critics because he thought he could be a fantastic part of the Gunners team.
I think he will prove his doubters wrong, and I think he has not had the credit he deserves, but I also see their point, as the German has at times been a bit too easily out-muscled by opposing Premier League players since coming to north London. And he has sometimes seemed to take his struggles to heart and get a bit downhearted.
So I think that the news that Ozil has spent his time on the sidelines working on his core strength and weight training to give him extra bulk and upper body strength is really good news for the Gunners. He is not the first technically gifted but slight player to struggle on coming to England, with David Silva being a great example.
So hopefully his new physique will help Ozil to shine, but just as important to me is the attitude and determination to improve that the German has shown by doing it. He wants to prove himself and has worked hard to give himself the best chance, so will the Brighton game be the start of a new era for Ozil at Arsenal?