Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hails Mesut Ozil while admitting CSKA made life ‘uncomfortable’
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praised Mesut Ozil while admitting an attacking CSKA Moscow side made life ‘uncomfortable’ for his side even though they triumphed 4-1 in the Europa League quarter final first leg at the Emirates on Thursday evening.
Two goals each from Ramsey and Alexandere Lacazette sealed the match – if not the tie – for Arsene Wenger’s side in a hectic first half which saw Gunners transfer target Alexsandr Golovin level with an exquisite free kick.
However, Viktor Goncharenko’s side earned credit for their dangerous offensive play which rocked the Gunners after the levelled at 1-1.
The 41-year-old – who made his name in his native Belarus with five titles at BATE Borisov as well as leading the club into the group stages of the Champions League three times – surprised many by setting his team out to attack the notoriously fragile Arsenal defence.
Wenger admitted he was taken aback by the intensity of the visitors creative intent saying after the match: “It was a difficult game because they looked good going forward.
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“They came out very quickly every time we lost the ball, they took advantage of every mistake we made to come out and go forward.
“I felt it was a spectacular first half, played at a high pace. It was an uncomfortable one for me because they looked dangerous as well.
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“I always hoped we could score, but was also worried they could score. We played against a side that was technically very good.
“We scored some great goals in the first half. At half-time we were 4-1 and the target was not to concede any more and if possible add another one.”
However Arsenal more than matched the Russians with their own creative flair which translated into four goals and a host of missed chances with Ozil notable for his sublime performance.
Although the match will be remembered for Ramsey’s superb version of his own ‘Scorpion Kick’ which put the home side 3-1 up and broke the will of the Russian side, Ozil’s performance had many purring with pleasure.
The former Real Madrid star has been criticised for his inconsistency, but on this display – which melded vision and creativity with efficiency – he is worth every penny of his £350,000 a week salary.
Wenger said: “I hope you enjoyed [watching Mesut Ozil] he’s a great football player and that’s what you want to see.”
The long-serving Frenchman confirmed David Ospina sprained his ankle in training on Wednesday and will be out for two or three weeks after a ‘reassuring scan’.
He also revealed Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss Sunday’s match with Southampton at the Emirates.