Mesut Ozil has returned for Arsenal following four months on the sidelines, but will he able to make his way back into the first XI, and in the near future, regain his best form?
Ozil made his much-waited comeback last week against Stoke City, coming on as a substitute to Olivier Giroud in minute 73. He failed to make any impact on the game due to lack of time, and the game was already very much won.
More than 17 minutes, however, was enough for the public to realise some differences in terms of Ozil's physique. Ozil appeared more muscular than during his last appearance against Chelsea, his chest looked broader, and his arms look bigger.
According to Daily Mail, increased upper body and strength work was included in the player's recovery plan to ensure he was ready to face the demands of the Premier League more effectively.
Ozil's lithe appearance and lack of strength while on the ball have been exposed in the English top-flight and he has, at times, been too easily bullied out of games . That is considered one of the reasons Arsenal's record signing has failed to live up to expectation since his move from Real Madrid 18 months ago.
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His new muscular frame should help ensure the attacking midfielder can stand up to the physical nature of the English top-flight. But is it enough for him to get back to his top?
Wenger to blame?
Maybe not. A slender frame is just one of many problems Ozil has been facing since moving to England. Another problem, a big one, is... Arsene Wenger. The French boss puts a lot of hope on Ozil, but he himself fails to make the most of the German's talent.
When he decided to sign Ozil, Wenger must have known that the German wizard's best position is behind a striker, and his best weapon is inch-perfect through-ball. Yet he still forced Ozil to play out wide in many games, and gave him a striker who preferred to hold up the ball in Olivier Giroud.
The arrival of Alexis Sanchez seemed to make life tougher for Ozil. The Chilean's best position is also behind the lone striker. Like Ozil, Alexis also tends to drop deep, gets the ball and dictates play. Unlike Ozil, he did not need time to adapt to English football.
So can Ozil get back to his best in Arsenal shirt? It is not the question he can answer on his own anymore...