Mikel Arteta says he was pleased with Mesut Ozil’s contribution to Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Everton but admits the player isn’t always suited to games when they turn ragged.
Having missed Thursday’s game win over Olympiacos, the German was restored to the starting lineup on Sunday and produced a tidy performance (he completed 48/52 total passes and 19/22 in the attacking third*) before he was substituted for Matteo Guendouzi with eight minutes remaining.
By that point, the Gunners were very much on the back foot as we looked to close out an advantage given to us by Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s second goal of the afternoon, just seconds after the restart.
Asked about the World Cup winner’s performance in his post-game press conference, Arteta said: “I’m very pleased with Mesut. I played with him and I know him, so I tried to push him as much as possible to do what he needs to do because I know how much he can give on the offensive side.
“Today’s game is a good example for Mesut. When we were dominant and the whole process is properly done and you find the player in the right position, he’s the type of winner you want.
“When the game becomes like this, it’s not his game, so he needs his teammates and the right structure and organisation for him to flourish.
“It’s not just about him and sometimes it’s not just his fault, it’s about the team not supporting him with what he needs.”
A third win in seven days has made for a very satisfactory week for Arteta who praised his players’ efforts and the way they reacted to going behind early to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s early opener.
“I’m really pleased with the performance,” he said. “It’s not easy to play three times in seven days. We came here very late from Greece and then we conceded an early goal as well which mentally [tough].
“The team reacted straight away and we started to dominate the game and impose ourselves, create the chances and score the goals. And then just before half-time, again, a big disappointment to concede the goal from another set-piece, but again we went back into the game, we started to play, we started to dominate the game again.
“But in the last 20 to 25 minutes you could see that energy-wise we dropped a lot. We had a lot of issues with some of the players on the pitch. We tried to make the changes to lift it up but to be fair Everton were better than us in the last 20 to 25 minutes and had some chances to score.”
* via the Stats Zone app