Arsenal – Stoke City Preview: Ozil in line for return as Gunners looks to avenge Britannia Stadium defeat

The German has been out of action for three months but could line up at the Emirates against a Potters side who scored three goals before half-time in the December clash


Mesut Ozil could make his first appearance in more than three months when Arsenal host Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday.

The Germany international has endured a lengthy lay-off due to a torn ligament in his left knee, with his last outing coming in Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on October 5.

However, the 26-year-old is set to be included in Arsene Wenger’s squad on Sunday and could yet make the starting line-up.

Wenger told reporters: “He will have a training session on Friday with the squad. He will certainly be available for selection on Sunday. Will I start him or not? I haven’t decided yet.”

The Arsenal boss was also able to offer positive updates on the fitness of Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini, who have been sidelined with respective hamstring and groin injuries, though Danny Welbeck (thigh) is still out.

“The team news is that Ramsey is back in training, Ozil is back in training and Flamini is back in training. We’ve got three players back,” he added.

“Welbeck is still not available for Sunday because he is a bit short. Maybe next week he will be available. [Olivier] Giroud is back from suspension so we have a bigger squad than last week.”

Wenger faced strong criticism when his side suffered a 3-2 defeat at Stoke in December, having fallen three goals behind before half-time.

However, while Arsenal have often struggled at the Britannia Stadium, failing to win on their last five visits, their record in home Premier League games against Stoke is faultless. Ozil had a hand in all three goals as his side won last season’s corresponding fixture 3-1 to make it six victories out of six against the Potters at the Emirates Stadium since the latter were promoted in 2008.

However, Mark Hughes’s men have recorded a number of notable wins on the road this season, triumphing at champions Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton.

“Our record there [at Arsenal] isn’t good but this is an opportunity to put that right, I would suggest,” said Hughes on Friday.

“Psychologically we hope that the recent result [against Arsenal] and the manner of the performance will stand us in good stead.”

Hughes could hand a debut to his new loan signing, German defender Philipp Wollscheid, while Victor Moses is in contention to return after seven weeks out with a thigh problem.

Bojan Krkic (hamstring) is rated doubtful and Mame Biram Diouf will definitely miss out due to his Africa Cup of Nations commitments with Senegal.

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