Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the performance of midfielder Mesut Ozil after his man of the match display in the 3-0 win against Newcastle at Emirates Stadium.
Ozil was among the scorers as Arsenal moved to within one victory of securing a 17th successive season of Champions League football, with Wenger telling Sky Sports there is more to come from the German midfielder he paid 42.4 million pounds to sign last August.
“He is getting stronger in every game now, he is refreshed,” said Wenger of Ozil. “It is his first season here over Christmas, he suffered a little bit physically. Now he looks sharp again and refreshed mentally to play. That’s why his performance is good.
“I believe the first season is always adaptable in the Premier League. What he has brought is his fantastic technique, the simplicity of his game, the intelligence of his passing and you look at his numbers, his assists and passes in the final third is very good. We want more goals from him and I think that will come naturally.”
Ozil received more acclaim from his midfield colleague Mikel Arteta, who suggested the absence of a host of key players such as Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey in recent months was the primary reason for the demise of the Gunners' Premier League title challenge.
“He is very important for the team, he has been missed while he was injured,” stated Arteta when asked about Ozil. “We have been missing very important players at a very important period of the season, so we are really pleased to have people like him back in the team and performing at the top because that’s what we need.
“We want to finish on a high. We have a massive chance at home to finish it on Sunday. The atmosphere is always great here, so let’s not take any chances.”
Wenger went on to praise the fighting qualities in his side as they have bounced back from a 3-0 defeat at Everton earlier this month that threatened to edge them out of the top four in the Premier League.
“We have gone through a difficult period and Goodison Park was one of them, but I believe the spirit in the side is healthy, strong, determined,” added the Arsenal boss. “You see that when a team is capable to bounce back after big disappointments.
“I think we had a slow and cautious start and progressively became stronger in the game. After the first 20 minutes, I think it was a very good performance. They made it very tight and we had some problems to play through their lines. It took us time to find some openings and they defended well.”