Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 1°C Friday 23 April 2021

No pressure then - Wenger believes Arsenal title hopes depend on Ozil

Gunners boss reveals the German midfielder has had a reduced training load to keep him fit this season.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

ARSENE WENGER SAYS Mesut Ozil holds the key to Arsenal’s hopes of winning the Premier League for the first time in 12 years.

Ozil’s superb run of form has been the catalyst for Arsenal’s climb to the top of the Premier League table.

The 27-year-old German midfielder has been immaculate in recent weeks and has already notched up a league-leading 16 assists this season.

The latest came in Monday’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth, with Ozil then adding the second goal himself.

After accepting, when questioned, that Ozil was the key man as Arsenal bid to end their title drought, Gunners boss Wenger was quick to highlight the improvement in the World Cup winner’s condition.

“He is a complete athlete. I also believe he has grown in stature and takes responsibilities and leadership in the team,” Wenger said ahead of today’s clash with Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium.

“On that front he has improved tremendously and looks determined to lead the team compared to when he arrived.

I think he plays in a position that suits him well.

“This season he was not stopped by injuries and I believe that he arrives at an age — 27 — that you think ‘it’s time for me to really be efficient in every single game, and I want to enjoy every single game’.”

Wenger also revealed that Ozil’s injury-free run is not by accident.

“Mesut, I gave him a one-week holiday during the international break,” Wenger said.

“At the moment he doesn’t practice a lot, we rest him a lot between the games.

“He is a guy who once the basic fitness is there between the games, he wants to play.

“There are types of players, sometimes the most technical players, it looks like it demands less energy for them to play – it is just natural for them.”

Arsenal continue to nurse frailties of their own, as shown by their 4-0 St Stephen’s Day drubbing at Southampton, but the Bournemouth win was enough to take them top of the table on goal difference after former leaders Leicester City could only draw 0-0 with Manchester City.

© AFP 2016

Could Mario Balotelli return to Liverpool? His agent says it’s a possibility

Cheltenham to the Euros: Seven amazing trips to take in 2016 and how to get there

About the author:


Read next: