Wenger targets Ozil for plaudits
Arsene Wenger has heralded Mesut Ozil as “absolutely unbelievable” as Arsenal’s record signing continues to impress this season.
The 27-year-old has himself said he is currently playing the best football since his big-money move to the Emirates Stadium in 2013, having already laid on 13 assists for the Gunners.
Ozil, a 2014 World Cup winner with Germany, has picked up the club’s player of the month award for October and November and Wenger will be hoping his purple patch can continue over the festive period.
The former Real Madrid man posted a number of pictures on Instagram earlier in the week as he enjoyed a short break ahead of Monday night’s crucial English Premier League clash with title rivals Manchester City.
And while Wenger praised his ability to open up opponents, he was also keen to point out how Ozil has improved at the less attractive things in his game.
“I think he has become an absolutely unbelievable player,” he said of the playmaker.
“Ozil is the main provider in our team and in the league. He has 13 assists in the league. Players who can make you score are very difficult to find and have something special on the vision front and on the technical quality.
“That is what Mesut is about. But he is also about, and people forget this many times, in his way an exceptional fighter. He runs much more and covers the distances during the game.
“He has added runs into the box now. You watch how many times he’s in the box compared to what he did before.”
With four goals, Ozil is just one behind his effort for the whole of last season and, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere injured, he has responded well when his team have needed him.
Wilshere remains sidelined after suffering a hairline fracture in his leg towards the end of pre-season but should return in the new year.
The England international admits he was always certain Ozil would produce after joining Arsenal and that his arrival two summers ago was great for the squad.
“I think we knew what sort of player Mesut was,” he said. “His history as a player and the clubs he has played for ... to bring him in to play with us was massive. I remember watching transfer deadline day and seeing that Arsenal were interested in Mesut Ozil.
“You almost didn’t believe it. When he arrived the players were buzzing and the fans were buzzing and I think that gave us all a massive lift. I watched him for a few years, he was another player who started off young and went to a big club like Real Madrid.
“I remember watching him a few times and thinking that this player really understands football. To play alongside him is something special.”
If Ozil can deliver something special against City on Monday night, it could see Wenger’s side sitting top of the table at Christmas as they go in search of their first league title since 2004.
The Arsenal boss knows this is a big opportunity and feels securing victories over their main challengers is more important this season given that teams are dropping points against supposedly lesser opposition.
“Yes, of course. Maybe more than ever because it looks to be very tight,” he said when asked if the title will be secured by beating the league’s biggest sides. “Every week you are surprised by the results.”