Llorente & Tevez not giving up on World Cup dream

The former Athletic Bilbao striker has fallen out of favour with Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, while his Argentine colleague has never been picked by Alejandro Sabella

Fernando Llorente has revealed that he and Juventus team-mate Carlos Tevez have not yet given up hope on playing in this summer’s World Cup.

After a slow start to life in Italy, the Spaniard has enjoyed a stellar debut season in Serie A, netting 14 times in total as well as forming a formidable partnership with his Argentine accomplice, who has 18 goals to his name.

Tevez, though, has not featured for his country since Alejandro Sabella took over in 2011, while Llorente has fallen out of favour with Spain boss Vicente del Bosque.

However, Llorente says that both he and Tevez are still dreaming of travelling to Brazil with their respective nations.

“The Italian championship is difficult and competitive, and we’re hoping to be able to go to the World Cup,” the former Athletic Bilbao hitman told Sky Sport Italia.

“It’s difficult but we’re doing well with Juve and if everything goes well, maybe we’ll be rewarded [at international level].

“Is this the most beautiful year of my life? I don’t know but I’m having a great season.”

Llorente and Tevez’s goals have put Juve within touching distance of a third successive Serie A title triumph, but even though Antonio Conte’s men are eight points above second-placed Roma with just five games to go, he is taking nothing for granted.

“We’re in a privileged position in terms of the Scudetto but nothing is won yet,” he warned.

“We’re still three games away from mathematical victory, but we’re hoping to reach that goal as quickly as possible.”

Ozil returns to Arsenal training ahead of Hull City clash

The club record signing from Real Madrid has recovered from his hamstring injury and could make his comeback in Sunday’s Premier League fixture

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is closing in on a return from injury after taking part in training on Wednesday.

The Germany international has not featured for Arsenal since the 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich on March 11 due to a hamstring problem.

But he is set to return for the club’s run-in, as they seek to secure a Champions League berth ahead of fellow top-four chasers Everton.

Arsene Wenger had previously revealed that Ozil was in contention to play against Hull City this Sunday.

The midfielder wrote on his official Facebook page: “Finally training on the pitch again with my team-mates. I’m doing fine and I’m looking forward to playing again soon.”

The news will come as a major boost to the Gunners, while Abou Diaby is also set to return to full training soon.

The Frenchman has not made a single appearance for the club this season – having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last year – but could feature before the campaign ends.

'We had to dig deep' – Wenger hails hard-fought win over West Ham

Arsenal fell behind to a Matt Jarvis header on 40 minutes but an Olivier Giroud strike and two goals from Lukas Podolski secured the home side a much-needed win

Arsene Wenger hailed the resilience of his Arsenal players after they came from behind to beat West Ham and keep their top four hopes alive at the Emirates Stadium on Monday evening.

Matt Jarvis silenced the home fans on 40 minutes when he headed the visitors in front, but an Olivier Giroud strike and a double from Lukas Podolski got the Gunners the result they needed.

And afterwards Wenger was keen to pay tribute to the “mental response” of his players to their poor recent run of form and to going behind against the Hammers.

“I think we got the victory tonight through the consistency in our game,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

“Even in the first half it was difficult but the vital thing was to come back to 1-1 just before half-time, and after the second half we controlled the game well.

“Overall it’s a hard-fought win but a very, very important one, and as well a very pleasant one because after Saturday we had to dig deep, and they did that with a great mental response.”

Ozil nears Arsenal return as Diaby resumes training

The German should be fit enough for Sunday’s league trip to the KC Stadium to face Hull City, but the French midfielder will be eased in slowly after a long injury lay-off

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Mesut Ozil is expected to be available for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Hull City on Sunday, while Abou Diaby is set to return to full training this week.

Germany international Ozil has not featured for the Gunners since a 1-0 loss to Stoke City at the start of March, having picked up a hamstring injury, while Diaby has not made a single appearance for the club this season having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last year.

However, Arsenal will be boosted by the news that their club-record signing could be fit to face Hull in a dress rehearsal of the FA Cup final, while Diaby is ready to make a long-awaited return to training – though Wenger is keen not to risk the injury-prone midfielder too soon.

“Ozil should be available for the weekend,” said the French boss after his side’s 3-1 victory over West Ham on Tuesday night that saw them reclaim fourth place in the league table.

“Diaby is back in full training on Thursday. It’s very difficult to say because he’s not played for over a year now.

“It’s difficult for me but he looks physically fine but he has to play one or two games before I can consider bringing him back.”

Despite the absence of Ozil, Arsenal claimed a hard-fought victory over West Ham on Tuesday that saw them leapfrog Everton and take back fourth spot, with goals from Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud sealing the three points.

Arsenal 3-1 West Ham: Giroud & Podolski inspire Gunners comeback

Lukas Podolski struck twice to help Arsenal keep up the pressure on Everton in the race for the top four with a convincing win over West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.

Matt Jarvis silenced the home crowd five minutes before half-time with a brave header from close range, but Podolski brought the Gunners level a minute before the break with a powerful low strike.

Giroud put Arsenal into the lead on 55 minutes when he expertly brought down a Thomas Vermaelen pass and fired through the legs of Adrian, and on 78 minutes Podolski lashed high into the net to seal a vital win.

The result sees Arsene Wenger’s men climb above Everton in the table by a point, though Roberto Martinez’s side have a game in hand.

The visitors, who remain seven points clear of the relegation zone, began the game with an urgency and pace as they pegged their hosts back in the opening 20 minutes.

Mohamed Diame had two chances to opening the scoring but saw his first effort blocked, and he skied a second over the crossbar from Andy Carroll’s neat cut-back.

Arsenal finally burst into life 30 minutes in as Cazorla threaded a pass through to Giroud in the penalty area, but France international’s half-hearted flick was easily saved by Adrian.

He was made to rue that finish as West Ham took the lead five minutes before the break.

Antonio Nocerino raced away from Kim Kallstrom, making his first Arsenal start, with Jarvis following in with a brave header after Wojciech Szczesny saved the Italian’s shot.

West Ham’s goal was the catalyst to set Arsenal into life and they were on level terms just four minutes later as Cazorla latched onto a poor clearance from Stewart Downing and found Podolski, who slotted home.

Ten minutes into the second half Giroud made up for his earlier miss to move Arsenal in front for the first time in the game.

Thomas Vermaelen delivered a lofted pass into the penalty area that the 27-year-old controlled superbly before firing first-time under Adrian.

Podolski and Cazorla both went close to extending the hosts’ lead just after the hour, but Adrian saved well from the German and Cazorla’s 20-yard strike was just wide of goal.

The points were sealed in the 78th minute as Podolski doubled his tally, the forward lashing his sixth league goal of the season high into the roof of the net after substitute Aaron Ramsey’s headed pass.