Arsene Wenger has paid homage to Mesut Ozil’s renaissance after watching the German put in a man of the match shift in Arsenal’s 4-1 win against Liverpool.
The World Cup winner was influential throughout the Gunners’ dominant victory, catching the eye with his range of passing, his willingness to track back and a deft first half free-kick that doubled his side’s lead five minutes before the break.
Facing the media about after the match, Wenger spoke in emphatic terms about his record-signing’s ability:
“What he does is always classy, intelligent and the timing of his passes is absolutely fantastic. He’s agile, flexible and always available in between the lines.
“When you play with him in the team, you would love to play with him. He’s sometimes criticised because of his physical challenges but I believe he’s on the way and is improving on that at the moment.
“He makes a big effort to work hard and be disciplined for the team.”
The boss also played up the clinical nature of his side’s finishing, although he played down suggestions that Arsenal – who have moved up to second in the table – had produced the perfect performance.
“Perfect? You always have imperfections in any game but I feel we started with a great intensity, which is what we wanted to put them under pressure. We created some early chances after and then when we relieved the pressure they had one or two chances.
“Liverpool are a good side going forwards and they always look dangerous. We had a killing instinct and took advantage of our strong moments in the first half. In fairness we played at a good pace and had some good combination game in the final third.
The second half was more down to, can we maintain the discipline, intensity and not allow them to come back early? We did that. We had many chances on the break that I’ve seen again but in the end it was 4-1 which is very convincing in a very important game.”
Despite temporarily closing the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points, Wenger played down talk of a title challenge pointing to the points dropped earlier in the season.
“We missed important players at the start of the season where we dropped too many points. If you look since everybody’s been back and available, the number of points we have made shows we have the quality to fight at the top.
“When you start the championship with the players coming back from the World Cup not available and having big players out for three or four months, we played six games in the Premier League and won one. You have a mountain to climb after. We are a consistent side and consistency is linked with quality.”