Sead Kolasinac says he wouldn’t have made the run that resulted in a deft assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opening goal against Burnley were it not for the vision of Mesut Ozil.
Galloping from the edge of the box to the byline in the 14th minute, the Bosnian wing-back was found by the German’s exquisite diagonal pass giving him the opportunity to deftly clip the ball back to the penalty spot for Auba to do the rest.
As pre-assists go, it was quite delightful. After the match, Kolasinac was quick to praise Ozil.
“It was unbelievable,” he told Arsenal.com. “We all know Mesut’s qualities and I only actually made that run because I saw that he had the ball.
“Not many players would have been able to play that pass. He can, and when I saw him get on the ball, I knew he was going to find me. It was a brilliant pass from him.”
Having missed games with a back problem and been left out against Bournemouth and Sp*rs for tactical reasons, there was a lot of speculation ahead of the 3-1 win over the Clarets about Ozil’s long-term future at the club.
Despite signing a new long-term deal in January, it’s been suggested that the midfielder could make way for new signings that better fit Unai Emery’s playing style.
Having played down such rumours on Friday, Emery made Ozil captain at the weekend and was rewarded by a decent showing that also included an assist for Alex Iwobi. While not a skipper in the traditionally vocal sense of the word, Kolasinac it’s his team mate’s quality that inspires.
“Mesut’s not the sort of player who will scream at you in public just to show the people on the outside that he tries to push us on,” he explained.
“He’ll speak in the dressing room, he’ll go to every player individually.
“With his quality, he brings a lot to this team. He’s very important for us as a captain and as a player.
“[Unfair criticism] is the case when you’re a big star, like Mesut is. Of course there are always negative headlines but, as a team, we don’t pay attention to them and Mesut doesn’t either. That’s what’s most important. We’re all behind Mesut – all the staff, all the players.
“If negative things are written, then that’s just what happens. In life, not everything is positive – sometimes there are negatives written about you too, and he’s had that. But with his performance [on Saturday] he’s quietened a few critics.”