By Joss Bennett
As Arsenal finally seem to have once again emerged from the brink of Champions League-less mediocrity, so too has Mesut Ozil emerged from a five week injury lay-off with the swagger of a man who has decided to take matters into his own hands for the final month of a long season.
The German made his return from injury for an hour last week at Hull and showed glimpses of why Arséne Wenger has missed his record signing so dearly during the side’s barren run of the last two months.
On Monday night at home to Newcastle, Ozil showed beyond any doubt what he can do when given the opportunity to combine with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, albeit against a team that looked like they were already on the beach in Whitley Bay.
The attacker prepared for another two huge games coming up in the Arsenal calendar with what to him seemed like a stroll in the park as he completed a superb 94% of his passes and four successful dribbles.
Ozil also completed six key passes, including a finely timed and finely placed cross onto the head of Olivier Giroud to kill the game off after a rare and brief period of pressure from the away side just after the hour mark.
Ozil has now started 23 of Arsenal’s 36 Premier League games and therefore missed almost a third of the season through injury, and tonight played just 74 minutes. Yet the German’s return and performance on the night looks like it will be enough to keep Arsenal in the Champions League for next season, such is his influence on the side.
Most pleasing to the fans, however, will be Ozil’s celebration, or lack of after his goal, as he looked to take control and make sure his teammates keep their focus.
At just 25, Ozil already has the necessary experience to make sure the team avoids further complacency in a huge two weeks for the club.