Arsène Wenger praises returning Mesut Özil in Arsenal victory over Watford


Arsène Wenger hailed the impact made by Mesut Özil after the German belatedly kickstarted Arsenal’s season with a performance of real verve and quality in a 3-1 victory at Watford. All of his side’s goals and most of their best moments were compressed into a first half in which Özil, making his first start of the campaign, and Alexis Sánchez were outstanding.

Özil was excellent, especially in the first half, he said. In the second half we dropped physically, but of course we need him. I think what we have seen from him today is what we want of him, assists but also to score goals. I’m very happy he scored today because that’s what he needed to add to his game.

With his influence on the game fading Özil was taken off after 70 minutes as Arsenal protected what was by then a two-goal advantage. Overall I think it was a strong performance, very fluent in the first half, Wenger said. In the second half we still created many chances but we missed something in the final ball, and we are not capable yet to maintain for 90 minutes exactly the same intensity physically.

Wenger nursed Özil back to fitness having granted him an extended break after Euro 2016, in which time Arsenal were beaten at home by Liverpool and drew at Leicester, but immediately loses him once again, with Özil named in Germany’s squad to face Finland and Norway.

I believe we paid a heavy price in our first game because we were not ready, we did not have the players back, Wenger said. Now Mesut is nearly ready, not quite, and he goes again. For us the break is not welcome. To reach our best level will take perhaps two more weeks – it would have been easy for us if the players stayed at home.

News Source TheGuardianNews

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