Arsenal boss delighted with Ozil performance in Gunners’ victory at Crystal Palace
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Arsene Wenger has praised Mesut Ozil for his hard-working display at Crystal Palace – while stressing that he wants the Arsenal midfielder to increase his scoring rate this season.
Ozil had looked below-par in the Gunners’ opening day defeat to West Ham, but was one of the outstanding performers for Wenger’s side in their 2-1 win at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
The German playmaker supplied the cross for Olivier Giroud to score their first goal, with Joel Ward equalising before Palace skipper Damien Delaney diverted an Alexis Sanchez header into his own net.
“He [Ozil] had a very good performance,” said the Arsenal boss. “I think he was very important getting out from the back in tight areas and it’s a pleasure to watch the quality of his passing, and the intelligence of his passing.
“I’ve said that what I want from him is a few more goals this season – in the rest of the build-up he was magnificent.
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“He works harder than people think he does, he’s not spectacular in his defending but he wants to do the job and help the team.
“What I liked in his game was he made many runs without the ball, behind the defenders. That’s a bit new because he likes to come to the ball but he mixed up his game better.”
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The victory earned Arsenal their first points of the Premier League season and Wenger conceded that a second setback – following their 2-0 loss to West Ham – could have been fatal for his side’s title ambitions.
“When they came back to 1-1 it was a good mental test to see how we responded after the defeat last week,” added the Frenchman. “To lose here would have been a big blow mentally.
“We managed to find a second goal and after that, in the final part of the game, we had to dig in and fight and we did that as well.
“This is a difficult place for everyone to come. I’m sure they [Palace] will beat many strong teams here and to get the three points is a turning point in the Premier League for us.”