Ozil, Giroud & the Arsenal stars with a point to prove on international duty

Ozil Arsenal 5

Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Nicklas Bendtner and Lukas Podolski all have points to prove this week.

The Gunners have fallen four points behind Chelsea in the Premier League and, as the club season enjoys some short midweek respite, a few of their underachieving squad members have the chance to send a positive message back to London while on international duty.

Mesut Ozil

The first of which is the club's record signing: Mesut Ozil.

The German has been widely panned for his recent form at the Emirates Stadium, especially after his disastrous performance against Liverpool in the Premier League and his crucial penalty miss against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

As such, boss Arsene Wenger has dropped the 26-year-old, with a question mark existing over when Ozil will return to the first-team fold. Germany's friendly with Chile thus presents the perfect opportunity for the playmaker to show he is still at his best, silencing both critics back in his homeland and on these shores.

German captain Phillip Lahm, for one, has backed Ozil to return to form. It would certainly prove timely.

Olivier Giroud

Another man to be accused of a dip in form lately is striker Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman has also received criticism for his personal life of late...

What better way to hit back at his critics, then, than to produce a stellar display for France against the Netherlands?

The 27-year-old may not be in the frame to start Wednesday's friendly ahead of Karim Benzema - but French boss Didier Deschamps has offered Giroud his backing, suggesting he may have a part to play. A key performance might set him up nicely for the weekend ahead.

Nicklas Bendtner

Perhaps the most obvious choice on this list, Nicklas Bendtner has already done enough talking to reveal why he has a point to prove to the Gunners this week.

First, the Denmark striker revealed that he does not plan to stay at Arsenal beyond the current season. Then, national coach Morten Olsen backed the 26-year-old's desire to leave north London.

Surely, then, Bendtner has no option but to show Arsenal what they are missing when they don't play him?

A convincing performance against England might be enough to persuade Wenger to at least give the forward a chance between now and the end of the season, while it could also interest potential suitors.

Lukas Podolski

Finally, Lukas Podolski is the odd one out here. Indeed, this German has something to prove to his country - not his club.

With the 28-year-old having missed a significant portion of the current season with a torn hamstring, Podolski has faced an uphill battle to return to the Arsenal fold - as well as the German national team.

The forward, though, insists he is confident of making it to Brazil this summer. "I have no fear," he told reporters. "I never have fear - and I never will.

"I have the confidence to say that I really enjoy being with the team and that I am going to do all I can to be at the World Cup. After the long time I missed due to injury, I am fully back now."

How will Ozil, Giroud, Bendtner and Podolski fare on international duty this week?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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