Wenger praises Ramsey and Ozil
Arsene Wenger praised the impact of Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil in the 3-0 win against Hull City.
• Mangan: Ramsey stars for Arsenal
Arsenal have been without both players for a significant period in the second half of the season, during which time they have dropped out of the title race.
However, Ramsey -- who made his comeback at the start of this month after three months on the sidelines -- opened the scoring at the KC Stadium and looked to be recovering full fitness, while Ozil returned to action after sustaining a hamstring injury in the defeat to Bayern Munich last month.
“We were having problems scoring goals away from home and [Ramsey] and Ozil give us a cutting edge in the final third that makes us much more dangerous,” he said. “Ozil has always the timing of the pass -- the incisiveness of his passing helps you turn quickly from defence to offense.
“Football is down to quality of the players and you could see that today.”
Wenger suggested that his side might still have been challenging for the Premier League title had they not sustained those injuries.
“The table is very close,” he said when asked about Ramsey and Ozil. “Liverpool played very well in the second part of the season and you wouldn't like to take anything away from them, but they could focus completely on the Premier League. If you look at the injuries, plus the players that we missed plus the schedule we had, of course it was much more heavier than Liverpool.”
The victory keeps Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish in their own hands and Wenger said it was a “big win” for his side.
“The first half was very physical, played at a very high pace. Our defenders needed to be very strong on crosses in the air,” he said. “We looked dangerous when we went into their half and took advantage of that.
“In the second half, when we scored the third goal, we controlled the game completely.”
The win also comes as a boost ahead of the FA Cup final against Hull.
However, Wenger said: “I think what is important is we finish as strong as we can in the Premier League and, after, the cup final will be completely different.”
Opposite number Steve Bruce was encouraged by his side's performance but bemoaned missed opportunities and what he saw as a game-changing decision by referee Jon Moss.
In the build-up to Lukas Podolski's first goal just before half-time, City striker Nikica Jelavic went down under Mikel Arteta's challenge inside the Arsenal half.
“The first goal, you have to say, it's a typical Arsenal goal,” he said. “Sometimes you hold your hand up and say it's a real quality goal.
“But the big turning point in the game, we're talking about a refereeing decision again.
“I think everybody in the ground expected a free kick to be given, we didn't get it and, again, a bit of quality from Arsenal -- it's a terrific finish from Podolski -- and after playing really well we're 2-0 down at half-time.”
The Tigers had chances before that, with strikers Jelavic and Shane Long both threatening while Tottenham loanee Jake Livermore hit a post.
Bruce said: “We had a real few chances. They really haven't threatened our goal at all for 35 minutes, and then within seven minutes of half time the game's over.
“[Long's] was one where I don't think he was expecting it to come to him, but we've had two or three. The keeper's made a wonderful save from Jelavic, James Chester's had a chance over the bar, Jake Livermore's hit the post.
“So we've had our opportunities and you hope you can take one. We haven't and as I said, the first goal from Arsenal was a wonderful piece of football and then the second one, the whole game-changer for me, is that decision.
“That's wrong, that I'm talking about a referee's decision.”
Long was withdrawn at half-time and Bruce explained: “He's got a whack to the back of his calf. He'll be touch and go for the weekend, I would have thought.”
Bruce also revealed forward Sone Aluko's absence from the matchday squad was due to a hamstring injury.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.