Wenger on ‘absolutely amazing’ Ozil & outstanding first half

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Arsene Wenger praised Mesut Ozil’s ‘absolutely amazing’ first half performance as the German engineered an outstanding 2-0 win for Arsenal against Napoli.

The midfielder cushioned a fantastic opener on eight minutes, his first for his new club, before teeing up Olivier Giroud seven minutes later as the Gunners overran their Serie A opponents before the break.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Wenger gave a glowing assessment of his £42 million man:

“First half, [he was] absolutely amazing, fantastic. Everything was in there – collective skill, individual skill, finishing, all that you dream to see.

“When it takes too long to score it is always on your mind a little bit, so he got rid of that.”

Asked if his side’s opening 45 minutes was their best of the season so far, Wenger continued:

“I think so, especially in the first half. I felt that we played at a good pace technically, were direct and finished with great goals.

“Overall the first half was outstanding. Second half, we played more with more maturity, less drive going forward and a bit more caution. But overall it was an outstanding game.

“We were solid and overall it was positive, because I wanted Mathieu Flamini to stop Marek Hamsik on the counter-attack and he did that work very well.”

Top of Group H three points ahead of Napoli and Borussia Dortmund, who beat Marseille this evening, the boss stressed there is still work to be done if his side are to secure safe passage to the knockout round.

“We could not have started better. The next two will be deciders, so that’s why we want to come back after an international break and have a great game like that against Dortmund.”

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Overmars
Overmars

Loved Flamini ‘s tackles tonight. The interception / toe in that helped set up the first goal, and also that 2 footed thundering in out of nowhere tackle where he admittedly got the ball but also scared the shit out of the Napoli players.

another yank
another yank

Completely agree, I mean the ref knew it was a clean tackle, he just had to reprimand Flamini for making Napoli mess themselves.

ayjay
ayjay

Arselona!

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

don’t you mean (b)Arsenal

Gar
Gar

We Are Arsenal !!!That is enough

Zelalem#58
Zelalem#58

Definitely we have much more class than those diving and acting cuntalans who think they can rob all our players…
they’ll never get our Rambo though

Geezer
Geezer

We are The Arsenal. COYG. Absolutely love this team.

Harsh
Harsh

the way our midfield three(behind the striker) played was very vital… even if rosicky didn’t have a very good game, the combinations of ozil, ramsey and rosicky eas absolutely flawless…. they pressed high up the pitch, passed the ball very quickly and interchanged positions literally all the time… u would never know who is playing left, who is playing right and who is in centre… it was absolutely arsenal…

Donut Maestro

There are times where I wonder if Walcott should get a look in with these players playing like this. Afraid of his turnovers but then he scores. Nice dilemma to have for Wenger.

tytee
tytee

Couldn’t agree more. Although I do take exception to a lot of people saying Rosicky didn’t have a good game. I thought he had a great game for somebody who’s coming back after being injured for a while.

His movement was amazing. He looked so fit. Running around everywhere trying to make things happen much like Ramsey. The only bummer was that he misplaced a few passes but that’s okay for his first game after injury.

The whole team was on a different level. They looked super fit. They were too quick for the opposition. One-touch passing and all.

bard
bard

Rosicky’s never not busy and he gives us more rotation options when the games come thick and fast. All should be glad he’s back.

Arsenal-induced Heart Attack Survivor
Arsenal-induced Heart Attack Survivor

About Rosicky, was he a bit too shovy-pushy yesterday? I saw the game but the cameras don’t get everything.

Mooro
Mooro

There are times when we as the crowd stay behind and clap as it’s just what you do.

And there are times when every single one of the players totally deserve it.

Tonight was one of those nights. Simply stunning.

D
D

There are nights when going to Emirates (fucking expensive as it is) is more than worth it! Is some of the Highbury mojo creeping back this year?

Snäzil
Snäzil

“We’re the North Bank, We’re the North Bank, We’re the North Bank Highbury!” It certainly felt different at the Emirates last night to what I have seen there in the past. We could be on to something here…

Jozzer
Jozzer

I loved Arsene’s reaction to Mesut’s goal. A very happy football connoisseur appreciating perfection.

Senna
Senna

What a game! Per and kos solid at the back. Flamini and arteta complemented each other nicely in the midfield. Ramsey w/ another massive game. Özil is just… Perfect. Giroud proving the doubters wrong again. And to think we are doing this w/ no Santi theo poldi ox… UTA!

ken
ken

those you list bar Santi are not A-list mate (yet for Ox)

crazeemunky
crazeemunky

comment above does not fulfil minimum sense/grammar requirements

Ryu

ken your a cunt

arsepedant
arsepedant

Idiot.

Wengers spare change
Wengers spare change

ken,go home son

We only lost the final because the referee made two mistakes
We only lost the final because the referee made two mistakes

Go sit with barbie

Boogiegooner
Boogiegooner

Thank you Arsene! We love you!!

COYG!!!

Young Gooner
Young Gooner

Wenger’s celebration when özil scored was awesome

menatlist
menatlist

RVP you were too impatient…. Could have been lifting a cup with the team you once declared your love for

dan
dan

That cunt must be thinking…Getting passes from Ozil? or get them from Fellaini, play for Wenger or play for Moyes…Uhmm that little boy!!!!

Jijo
Jijo

He sensed that little boy in his stomach more than a year back. Must have delivered him by now..after all he can’t be pregnant for more than a year!

Andreas
Andreas

Even though I really do share your feelings regarding RVP and even though I to wish him to regret his choice, this is premature. It is still early days lads. The bottom line is that so far his betrayal has won him one EPL-Winners medal, while his former team succeded in finishing fourth after a good run in.

If (and thats a big IF unfortunately) we succeed this season. If we one way or another end up with some silverware, then by all means have a crack at his expense. So far, sadly, he has got what he went there for.

Wengers spare change
Wengers spare change

im glad hes gone.bet hes saying to himself,hmmm I wonder if arsene would take me back,then a song in the background gets louder and louder..na na na na…na na giroud

menatlist
menatlist

RVP you were too impatient…. Could have been lifting a cup with the team you once declared your love for

DL Gooner
DL Gooner

Fuck yeah, the Arsenal are back!
The whole team tonight were unplayable.

Jack's Right Foot
Jack's Right Foot

I’ve not felt like this for a long, long time. Giddy.

Griffin Gooner
Griffin Gooner

I think I jizzed in my pants a little tonight watching the arsenal tonight COYG

Jenks
Jenks

You might not be the only one

arsepedant
arsepedant

Hell, the inside of my pants looked like an explosion in a glue factory.

Parisian Weetabix
Parisian Weetabix

My pants exploded like a full glue factory.

Goonermonkey
Goonermonkey

I’ve not seen us play like that in a long time. Vintage Arsenal. Passing, technique, clinical. What a performance!! I don’t care that I’m still stuck on a train waiting to get home. I was there to see Özil bang in his first for us.

COME ON YOU REDS!!

Goonermonkey
Goonermonkey

I’ve not seen us play like that in a long time. Vintage Arsenal. Passing, technique, clinical. What a performance!! I don’t care that I’m still stuck on a train waiting to get home. I was there to see Özil bang in his first for us.

COME ON YOU REDS!!

Goonermonkey
Goonermonkey

I’ve not seen us play like that in a long time. Vintage Arsenal. Passing, technique, clinical. What a performance!! I don’t care that I’m still stuck on a train waiting to get home. I was there to see Özil bang in his first for us.

COME ON YOU REDS!!

Goonermonkey
Goonermonkey

I’ve not seen us play like that in a long time. Vintage Arsenal. Passing, technique, clinical. What a performance!! I don’t care that I’m still stuck on a train waiting to get home. I was there to see Özil bang in his first for us.

COME ON YOU REDS!!

Thin Gooner
Thin Gooner

Definitely some sex wee in my undercrackers when we went 2-0 up

Goonermonkey
Goonermonkey

Think my phone just fudged up a bit there. Sorry if that posted a couple of times, Bloggs.

saltyscotsman
saltyscotsman

You couldn’t slap that smile off of Wengers face after the game(not even with a shovel!!) An amazing performance……

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Excellent first half; dreadful second.

The nice thing about the team right now is that we look very solid. There is a touch of the George Graham steel now (take a bow Stevie Bould). We never looked like letting Napoli back in it. A couple of years ago that game might of ended 2-2. But that second period was pretty tedious; I almost dozed off. The Italians were disappointing: at 2-0 down they showed all the attacking ambition of Bambi on Valium. Let’s hope they play that way in Naples.

On paper this was a tough group, but we’re making it look easy.

Good.

Young Gooner
Young Gooner

Thumb down when I see your name, avatar and “dreadful second”. Remaining comment does make sense. Guess I clicked the thumbs down button too early but glad to see that you still have a good sense.

santori
santori

Sack Wenger!

Clearly he doesn’t know what he is doing.

Why did he spend all that money on the bug eyed German and what’s with Flamini for free, he should have spent money on a decent DM.

And what’s with all the foreign players these days, Graham would never have allowed this. We need British players, young preferably. And we need experience too.

And what’s with this mumbo jumbo obsession with the title and the Champions League, we should set our sights on something less ambitious like the Capital One cup because it’s a good little tin pot for us to piss in.

Clearly we have no depth in the squad and Wenger likes buying midget french players.

We can’t defend a lead and always capitulate.

Thumbs down if you like Thickgooner.

L;)

Santi Claws
Santi Claws

We all judge Fatgooner by his name and reputation but he’s got his head screwed on right and he obviously loves Arsenal, might be prone to being a bit harsh on the team (presumably a long-time fan) but demonizing him because he criticizes Arsenal at times is a bit unfair. Perfect we are not, there’s nothing wrong with this comment whatsoever. End of the second half DID wind down a bit. Napoli WERE toothless – whether this is because of the pressure we exerted is another story. But meh, who cares. 2-0 to the Arsenal, that’s all that matters.

bard
bard

I demonise him because he’s condescending even when he gets predictions or analysis right.

In this case for example, “dreadful second half” is dreadfully wrong for a team that seems aware that there is less need for overexertion with the tight schedules ahead. And what’s more, despite taking the foot off the pedal a bit, we were still defensively solid.

The second half was more solid and reliable, than dreadful. If Fatgooner can take his head out of his arse for a bit, he might like to take a longer view of the context we play in, rather than simply juding play based on how scintillating it was.

bard
bard

Also, I’d expect a long-time supporter to remember that successful Arsenal teams of the past have played out “dreadful” pragmatic games in plentiful amounts, closing down the game professionally.

OHighSoHigh
OHighSoHigh

The second half was not dreadful. We managed the game well, and saw it out without too much fuss or pushing for a totally unnecessary goal. We have a bit of an injury list as it is, making sure everyone made off the pitch without a new one or having played themselves into the ground IMO was absolutely sensible. No team likes to get outclassed by that distance and too much more of that and we would have been seeing dangerous tackles from frustrated players.

Absolutely sensible.

Rufusstan
Rufusstan

You know what, it is really hard to agree with you, when you call the second half dreadful, then go on to mention Graham, and compliment all of the things that made the second half so good. –which I agree with.

This Arsenal side does have a touch of the Graham about it. Kill the game in the first 20 minutes, realize the opposition are not good enough to get back into it, then coast the rest of the game to save energy for the weekend.

The sides of the last few years might have pressed and pressed and won 5-0, but then would screw up against West Brom this weekend. — How must they be thinking right now by the way? ‘We held their reserves to penalties a week ago, now they come back with a first team that just destroyed Napoli.

I know Destroyed is a strong word, but we went 2-0 up in 15 minutes, didn’t even let them have the ball for long stretches, and then let them come at us. They only managed one shot on target all game, and even when we let them play, we still had the better chances.

Bona
Bona

I jizzed too

Wasn’t as pretty as arsenal’s performance

DangerMouse
DangerMouse

Aw Fatgooner cheer up mate. Lifes too short. Enjoy the good times when they come along. I know youre a bit pissed off that your description of Wenger as ‘a doddering senile old fool’ now looks paticularly stupid but hey …..

NCGunner
NCGunner

Well….these are the days when it sucks to be here in USA as blogs knows when the match is at 3pm in the afternoon and we are at work.

I wanted to leave work early today but am travelling for work this week so its difficult.

I CANNOT WAIT to get home Thursday and watch the match from start to finish.

By the sounds of it we excellent and fluid in the first half and played the counter in order to defend in the 2nd.

Which….hey….we can actually do now that we have a solid back 4. Not having to worry too much about the types of 4-4 matches that happened a couple years ago with Newcastle.

And a massive stage in the Champions League….this is why Ozil is world class. His quality comes out so much in this environment.

But it seems like the squad entirely was positive and not having watched it, Giroud (great call blogs on him getting back on the score sheet), Ramsey, etc etc were all switched on.

May it continue.

And Arteta gives options, and now Cazorla could be back soon, and Rosicky, and hopefully Podolski.

COYG

nc

Rufusstan
Rufusstan

The really amusing thing after the abuse given in the last few years, is that the West Brom game suggests we have nearly 2 solid back 4s

meletios
meletios

Good game..as Arsene himself said we seem to have found the balance between attack and defense…. instead of committing harakiri like 2-3 years back..
We look a good defensive unit now…. Looks like Steve Bould is having his effect now and Arsene seems to have matured his Footballing philosophy as well…

meletios
meletios

Good game..as Arsene himself said we seem to have found the balance between attack and defense…. instead of committing harakiri like 2-3 years back..
We look a good defensive unit now…. Looks like Steve Bould is having his effect now and Arsene seems to have matured his Footballing philosophy as well…

gunner
gunner

“As for Napoli, the best that can be said of their target practice is that no-one was hurt. Lorenzo Insigne, Miguel Britos, Jose Callejon, Gokhan Inler, Callejon and Insigne again, all had efforts that proved more of a challenge to air traffic control than they did to Szczesny…..”

Rufusstan
Rufusstan

I was half expecting a message like this today:

The club have announced Szczesny may have sustained a minor neck injury last night, brought on by having to watch so many balls fly over his head. It is thought he will be fit for the weekend.

🙂

emma
emma

Awesome game

32YEAROLDGOON
32YEAROLDGOON

I think that first half was the best I’ve seen Arsenal play for almost a decade.

Pace, precision, perfect passing, passion… Every single player played for the shirt, as a team…

That’s all we wanted. That’s what we got. God bless Arsene Wenger.

Is it our year?

On tonight’s evidence… it’s very bloody close.

(Long time reader, first time poster)

TXGoon
TXGoon

That was a beautiful thing to watch. Incredible first half! Shutting them down in the second. This squad has passion and will only get better. COYG,from the ATX!

Legendsilver
Legendsilver

My best Arsenal game so far this season.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack

Blogs, It’s group F not group H.

A N Other
A N Other

For the first 15 minutes – I thought I was watching Invincible era with Henry, Pires and Bergkamp…What a treat? We have got our Arsenal back. 🙂

I havent seen Wenger’s celebrations like the one he did for first goal in ages.

gunner
gunner

this could be the best lineup wenger has put out this season so far. It might lack pace without someone like walcott but my god arteta and flamini in front of the back four!!!!!!! talk about stability. with that pairing you can expect more clean sheets

Janthina
Janthina

If you were on EK 405 from Singapore to Dubai tonight and walked into the aft 777 galley with 4 crew members dancing to our scoreline around an iPhone, we apologize. Its pretty rare you get 4 Gooners in a crew together. Memorable flight: we got the captain to announce the CL score lines before our descent into DXB! Oh and your hot towel is coming soon, I promise.

Arsenal1
Arsenal1

You cules meant to say messilona, they are not even top 10 team without messi

jason
jason

Like the end of last season we seem to play better without Jack Wilshere if i had to pick between Rambo and Wilshere i would pick Rambo everytime.

For me to be real title contenders we need good results against City, Chelsea and Man U.

If we get wins or draws there then for me its all about consistancy, and based on how we are playing and our form last season any team that aint city and chelsea we should win .

Look at Man U last season they hit a point in the season when they just couldnt lose a game cause they got all the big teams out of the way early they only started lossing again after they won the title and they had City chelsea and they got a draw off us.

Just win the games you should win.

UpTheArse
UpTheArse

The nice thing about “winning the games you should win” both in the prem and this stage of the CL is that we can go into the bigger games you mention (add Dortmund to your list) without necessarily NEEDING a win to keep title chances alive. Therefore we can hopefully play with less pressure and a more relaxed attitude – less tightness and nerves. Plus you gain extra confidence from winning all your “easy” games and you can already see what effect that is having on the team and the players who seem to be getting better every game. Look at Man U last year they won so many games they seemed to just walk into games with total belief they would win no matter what, just didn’t occur to them they could lose, and that makes a big difference. For the last few years our top, uninjured 11 has been great but losing silly games (and lots of injuries, not enough squad depth) put us under all kinds of undue pressure. Placing second in a weak CL pool meant us facing Barca in the qaurters, etc. If we can just keep winning the games we are supposed to win the sky is the limit cause clearly we could/should get even better with so many first team players coming back from injury still and Ozil yet to be fully integrated. And winning those “easy” games against lower quality clubs is all about solid defence. In that respect the way Flamini fell into our lap… what a signing!

Madmics
Madmics

Arsenal We LOVE YOU!!!

Tim
Tim

Another bonus about this form is that when our Cazorla’s & Podolskis come back, we can inject them slowly from the bench rather than having to thrust straight into the first team.. helping the healing process and giving us a lethal bench…

I think with the depth in midfield we can mould Podolski into our second striker and Walcott our third striker, it is too worrying & stressfull everytime Giroud pulls up with an injury during the game

Although I won’t complain if we sign a Suarez or Rooney

Clock End Mike
Clock End Mike

Well, I would (complain, that is). I’ve said before, what we want from a striker is someone who wants to play to play at the Arsenal, for the Arsenal, the Arsenal way. And, of course, someone who the boss believes can actually do that.

Not Suarez. I don’t like his character, he’s shown little loyalty to his previous clubs, at his best he’s a great striker, yes, but he just wants to play CL football. I never heard him say anything else positive about the Arsenal all that time he was demanding to leave Liverpool during the summer.

As for Rooney… well, you might say pretty much the same.

Tim
Tim

Fair point, I say them because they are pretty much the only ‘available’ strikers that would improve our team to the next level. But yes, harmony in the dressing room can perhaps be more important

UpTheArse
UpTheArse

Rooney’s effort and heart, wether he is on good form or bad, approaches the likes of Tevez. I am sure he would be an absolute beast no matter what colour shirt he wears. And his passing and vision is top top class. Would make an excellent Gooner. Tevez… I mean, great striker, but he bites people? The point with both is they could play alongside Giroud instead of replacing him I think. Even without more top quality signings what a nightmare selection wise we will have when at full strength because, as Mike said, our midfield depth means we have both Walcott and Podolski as back up strikers, not to mention the TGSTEL who I believe leads all current Arsenal players in goals scored for the club!

Rufusstan
Rufusstan

Have to agree we have something special in the camp right now.

Even the informal behind the scenes stuff that is leaking out (Poldi’s instagram last night for instance), show the kind of mood in the squad that gets you a long way to winning things and you really don’t want to disrupt this.

Flamini has been part of the Arsenal before so slots right in. Özil seems to be settling as well — although in the photo last night he does have the slightly nervous look of man who is not quite sure what he has got himself into.

Not in a bad way, more: ‘I knew Poldi is barking, but who are these other lunatics.’

zizou
zizou

Just sit yourself down and just admirer

Stephen
Stephen

Little Mozart did a trick pulling 2 defenders with him away from goal for Özil to score. Loved it.

Clock End Mike
Clock End Mike

It’s clear Tomas’ touch was a bit off today, well, he’s only been back in training a day or two. But his experience showed all over the pitch. Class is permanent.

AnonymousGun
AnonymousGun

Yes.. I love that role from TRock.. sad to see no one really mentioned it..

Ayman
Ayman

Flamini is a beast. Gibbs growing up before our very own eyes. Can’t wait for Santi Clause to come back. Fuck the ugly Manchester sisters!

Petfucker
Petfucker

This Flamingo guy we signed outta nowhere for free is amazing. Wenga always finds these crazy weirdos who electrify the entire team. One mad Flamingo chasing after infects everyone. all 11 were up to it with “you aint goin nowhere you fuckin rotated basterd”

TV5 4 DM
TV5 4 DM

Might be just me, but it sure seemed like the arteta/flamini holding midfield axis made an understated difference today. Ramsey has been amazing there, but having an experienced, disciplined duo sitting in front of the back four makes the midfield nigh on impenetrable. Perhaps a winning combo for the future?

Clock End Mike
Clock End Mike

Does that mean you might change your moniker?

kobst
kobst

we legitimately fucked them up that first half

Richie Waweru
Richie Waweru

BFG still amazes me every game. He’s passing from the back is usually spot on and I rarely see any opposition player intercept. My MOTM every game this season.

santori
santori

Didn’t think he was going to play both Arteta and Flamini.

On hindsight, Flamini’s inclusion made perfect sense with his experience in the Calcio.

Wenger mentioned he wanted him to link up quicker with Ramsey. Flamini has been trying to get us to move the ball around faster. Every bit worth the 21.175m quid we paid out for him.

The other bloke Ozil didn’t do too badly either. Sublime finish and great assist. He’s still getting adjusted to the physical pace of the PL but he is in his element in Europe and maybe our ticket to something special here.

Fantastic work by Giroud. Still remember the ‘experts’ telling us RVP won’t last a season when he went on that brilliant scoring run for us. And now they are bleating on (subliminally at least) how Giroud stacks up to Higuain (granted we could have done with Higuain).

Well Giroud is answering his critics and yet again, Wenger has pulled through developing a player when most prescribe buying as the only solution.

Ozil has been a spark for the new found confidence in the team but the wood that the spark burns on is the hard work, heart break and heart the team and some of the young players (Ramsey, Gibbs in particular recently) have built on.

Honestly thought we may have drawn this fixture so absolutely elated that we are continuing this amazing run.

Podolski and Santi to return and link with Ozil (Ramsey, Jack). Plenty to look forward to and for once, I am quite frankly not afraid of facing United, Chelsea or City with this team. Let’s put them to the sword too.

The best is yet to come.

Educated By YouTube
Educated By YouTube

“I am quite frankly not afraid of facing United, Chelsea or City with this team. Let’s put them to the sword too”.

Exactly!

santori
santori

The likes of Hansen, Souness, Murphy, Twitchy, Tommy Smith are all licking their own arses at the moment.

We seem to be making a lot of ‘new fans’ these days.

Can only be a good thing I suppose.;)

TV5 4 DM
TV5 4 DM

@Clock End Mike: Absolutely not. TV 5 4 DM

monkeyjackson
monkeyjackson

The Wizard of Öz !

Educated By YouTube
Educated By YouTube
Tony Adam's dandruff between the cleavage of a horrid slapper
Tony Adam's dandruff between the cleavage of a horrid slapper

I live 8 hours ahead so I couldn’t watch the game. But … waking up to see news like this is pure happiness. It’s like waking up on Xmas day as a 5-year old!

I have to say; everyone was caning Wenger before this season started. I think Ozil was that tipping point of quality that toppled us into the promised land, and added just the right amount of competition, but let’s be honest … no one had faith in Flamini or Ramsey to deliver, and people weren’t sure about Giroud either. Look at them now. It just shows we as fans, bloggers, pundits, etc. have no fucking clue what really and truly goes on behind closed doors in the core running of the club.

Also, note to RVP: mate you are such a wally, you guy. We are such a class club. We have a great team spirit. No more Gallas and Adebuymore; we have likable guys like Ramsey, Theo, Cazorla and Ozil, a long way from the brawling, glugging trolls of Rooney and Ferdinand. RVP you fucked it up big time. That one trophy now will be matched by us, and you certainly won’t be getting anymore at United now. Ferguscum is irreplaceable, as is our guy, but out guy has many years on the clock. I hope you’re fucking reading this because with you up top we would be total football. Fuck you … UP THE ARSE!

ozils mum
ozils mum

Did you know that ozil even assisted the nurses at his own birth