As you might imagine, Arsène Wenger was glad to have Mesut Özil back in the starting lineup for Arsenal on Saturday. The Gunners got their first win of the season, beating Watford 3-1, and a large part of that was down to the German playmaker. After the game, Wenger sang Özil’s praises.
Özil was excellent, especially in the first half. In the second half we dropped physically, but of course we need him. I think what we have seen from him today is what we want of him, assists but also to score goals. I’m very happy he scored today because that’s what he needed to add to his game.
Of course, now we head into an international break, which kind of torpedoes the rhythm that the team finally found. After several players (including Özil and fellow Saturday standout Alexis Sánchez) had major international tournaments this summer, delaying their preparation for the club season, now it happens again. Wenger is not pleased.
I believe we paid a heavy price in our first game because we were not ready, we did not have the players back. Now Mesut is nearly ready, not quite, and he goes again. For us the break is not welcome. To reach our best level will take perhaps two more weeks – it would have been easy for us if the players stayed at home.