- FA Cup
Mertesacker backs Ozil redemption
Per Mertesacker says Mesut Ozil has the perfect chance to seek redemption and end Arsenal's nine-year trophy drought in Saturday's FA Cup final against Hull.
Ozil has endured a mixed first season in England since becoming the club's £42 million record signing at the Emirates Stadium last summer.
Wenger could handle Hull hell
- Arsene Wenger has ridiculed claims that he could quit Arsenal if they fail to end their trophy drought by winning the FA Cup.
- The manager's future has been the subject of debate for some time and admits he still has not finalised a new contract to replace the one that expires this summer.
- Read the full article here
A serious hamstring injury combined with a string of below-par performances saw the midfielder lose his early season confidence, but team-mate Mertesacker believes his compatriot will come good at Wembley.
"I knew before he would suffer at some moment in his first Premier League season," Mertesacker said. "We are happy he is fit again and that he has got a few games under his belt to go now to Wembley and show everything he can do.
"He is one of the best players in Europe and his contribution and his assists are vital for any club. In our cup final at Bremen, he scored the winner, and he is up for the big games."
The turning point for Ozil's season came when he missed a crucial penalty in Arsenal Champions League second round first leg clash to Bayern Munich.
Mertesacker, who berated Ozil for not applauding Arsenal's travelling fans after their 6-3 defeat at Manchester City in December, revealed his team-mates had encouraged the 25-year-old following his miss against Bayern in February.
"We tried to talk to him every day afterwards," Mertesacker said. "I think it is very important to keep his confidence high because sometimes you go through that moment when you suffer a bit and you feel low. I think we've got a good squad to encourage, especially the Germans, of course."