29th December 2015: Wenger praises Mesut’s masterclass

Good evening Gooners. Leicester City host Manchester City later and although a win for the Foxes will take them above us in the Premier League table, I’m actually hoping they do manage to beat Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Because in the long-run, it’s City who’ll emerge our biggest rivals in the title chase in my opinion. So I’d rather us keep our four point advantage over them, even if it’s at the expense of being dislodged from the top of the table temporarily by Leicester.

Anyway, a major reason we’re currently top is of course the majestic form of Mesut Ozil, who in the absence of the injured Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla, has seemingly grown even more influential than he has been all season, conjuring assists at will and playing like a Player of the Year winner in-waiting.

Unsurprisingly, Arsene Wenger was full of praise for his record-signing when he spoke at his post-game press conference yesterday, saying:

Mesut was the focal point of our team because we had a new midfield today and he gives reassurance with his technical security and ability. When we had problems in the first part of the game it went always through him and it gives you confidence and security. I have seen a few good games from Ozil but what is important is that he convinces everybody that he is not only a talented player but a player that is always willing to work for the team and work hard. He has added scoring goals to his assists and overall he is a complete player. I have not seen many of that quality but I was quite lucky in my career. For me I don’t like to compare players and he is an exceptional player. I think you have to give me credit that I defended that point of view even when you were sceptical about it. What is very important is that he comes as good as he can be and he is on his way. Is there a lot left? I don’t know, but what he is doing at the moment is fantastic.

I’ll be honest, when we signed Ozil right at the end of the transfer window in the summer of 2014, I wasn’t quite as excited and enthused as the majority of Arsenal fans seemed to be. Not because I didn’t rate him as a footballer, because my memories of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Mesut first showed the world what he could do were still fresh.

But I had doubts over his ‘completeness’ as a player. They were the same sort of reservations I always had about Cesc Fabregas when he was lauded as being a cross between Pele, Diego Maradona and Superman during his time at Arsenal. Could he beat a man? Was he quick and athletic enough? Did he have regular goals in him? Or was he ‘just’ a passer?

Yet what his time at Arsenal has shown me at least, is that a) I hadn’t paid close enough attention to Ozil’s game while he was a Real Madrid player and b) his quality of passing and assists really in extraordinary. It borders on perfection, and in my opinion, is a level or two above even Fabregas at his best. Arsene once said something along the lines of ‘where do you find another Fabregas?’, but in Ozil, he’s found a considerable upgrade, and one who’s still improving.

Right, a brief one today but that’s it from me.

See you tomorrow.

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