Arsène Wenger assessed the view from life at the top of the Premier League and then cast a warning. Mesut Ozil will get better. Much better.
For Ozil, who climbed off a sickbed to make his debut in England following his £42m move from Real Madrid, there was more than just a glimpse of what is to come. The 24-year-old was breathtaking at times, providing the guile and belief that spread, first to his team-mates and then to the away supporters, high up behind a goal at the Stadium of Light, that better times might just lie around the corner.
“You have seen some great players in the Premier League and it is very difficult to judge someone after one game, but he is a great player and there is a lot more to come from him when he gets used to the contact,” said Wenger after Arsenal’s 3-1 win.
“He told me after the game that he’d enjoyed it, that he now has a good idea of what is expected of him. He looked very comfortable, especially his first touch. He had not practised with the team at all, he just looked like a guy who had come to play for us, but it worked.
“In the transition from defence to attack, he does that very well. His passing and his retention of the ball gives everyone time to move. He is based a lot on movement and getting time for people to be available on the ball. He gives us a kind of technical security and with a creative side of his game, which is interesting.
“In our club, there was a demand from everybody to have new players, for reasons that we didn’t win the championship for a few years and because, over the years, we have lost big players without being capable of bringing the same stature in. That [signing Ozil] was a huge lift for everybody. I agree that it is ridiculously early [to look at the league table] but it is better to be up there than further down,” Wenger added.
Champions league: eye on the opposition
Arsenal’s Group F opponents Marseilles also enjoyed some late success on the road ahead of Wednesday’s Stade Vélodrome meeting.
Trailing to Wissam Ben Yedder’s opener for winless Toulouse midway through the second half, Marseilles rescued a point with three minutes left, Lucas Mendes finding the net.