Following Monday’s victory over title rivals Manchester City, manager Arsene Wenger heaped praise on star player Mesut Ozil (via Arsenal.com). The German playmaker was in fine form once again, picking up two assists as the Gunners won 2-1. This takes Ozil’s assist tally for the season up to 15, which is more than double that of the second placed player (via ESPN).
Ozil, who is Arsenal’s club record transfer, has finally shown what he is truly capable of this season. The former Real Madrid player struggled to get going after making the switch to the Premier League, and although he has been an important player, he never quite lived up to expectations over the past couple of seasons. This led to him being targeted by the critics, who accused him of everything from ‘being lazy‘ to ‘disappearing in the big games‘.
However, Ozil’s performances this season have silenced even his biggest critics, as the German has been practically unstoppable in the Premier League. Despite playing almost every game over the past few months, the World Cup winner has turned in a series of flawless performances – notching up two goals and fifteen assists along the way. Needless to say, his efforts have been crucial to our successes so far, and the manager highlighted this during the post match press conference.
“[In] Football, you need at the end of the day someone who gives the guy the ball who scores the goal,” Wenger said.
“In our team most of the time Ozil is this player. When you look at this and the guys that see, make you win and he is that.
“He is much more mature and is much more keen to take on responsibility. I personally think he is built on his physical attributes and commitment. You see his desire to win, he plays to win the games and maybe this kind of talent is exceptional. He realises he can help us in every single game.
“He had a chest infection for the week and was in bed. he had only one training session yesterday and for a guy who could not prepare well he has done very well physically.”
Ozil has been our most active player week after week this season, constantly moving around the pitch and creating problems for opposing markers. His passing is his best attribute certainly, but it is also his ability to find the gaps in the defence and create time for himself that has set him apart this season.
Meanwhile, England international Theo Walcott also had a game to remember, scoring a screamer from the edge of the box. The versatile forward also put in a solid defensive shift, tracking back regularly to frustrate the Manchester City attackers. His pace and link-up ability were vital to our success yesterday, and the manager acknowledged his impact, saying, “I change it a little bit game by game and see where he can be efficient because Theo is a decisive player.
“At Aston Villa he did that and got a penalty and before the final pass he gave the ball to Ozil. Today he finished. One of his strengths is the quality of his movement and if you can get it to Ozil, he can find him and his quality of movement is exceptional.
“I think Theo Walcott had a very good, strong, fighting performance and his defensive performance was top level today.”
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The decision by the manager to include both Walcott and Olivier Giroud in the starting lineup has already paid massive dividends, and with Ramsey content to play a more central role we should see more of this over the next couple of months. Having the physical presence and aerial ability of Giroud alongside the pace and movement of Walcott will unsettle even the best of defences, and provided we can keep everyone fit and healthy our attack will only grow more dangerous as time progresses.
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