Ozil’s stunning strike nabs three points - but was it a shop-window performance?
Arsenal 1 Newcastle United 0; substance over style.
After a disappointing run of two points from three games it was vital we got all three in this one - and thanks to Mesut Ozil’s stunning strike that's exactly what we got.
In truth the performance wasn't all that much better than those against Southampton or West Ham - with failure to convert chances once again the main problem - but the end product was there.
Newcastle rallied slightly towards the end of the game but we certainly did enough to take all three points - sending the Magpies into the relegation zone in the process.
Ozil has, over the past couple of months, produced some of his best football in an Arsenal shirt. Critics may suggest he's turning it on so as to put himself in the shop window for a January transfer.
I have been one of his fiercest bemoaners. But the reason I've been so vociferous against him is that I know he is capable of much better things. He always turns it on for Germany, for example, and the flashes of brilliance he occasionally shows in the red and white male the lazier shows all the more frustrating.
His left-footed strike mid-way through the first-half from the edge of the Newcastle box was one of his best, and worthy of winning any game.
Afterwards Arsene emphasised the importance of the win, telling the BBC: "We had three games in six days. Newcastle produced a physical performance.
"We had two away games and two draws. Against Manchester United we had a quality performance but couldn't get the win."
It was also good to see Jack get some more minutes under his belt, and although I'm still a bit bemused as to why Arsene feels the need to rest Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles getting another top level appearance will do him no harm. In fact, he almost scored a fantastic goal of his own in the first-half - his mazey run ending with a curling shot which hit the side netting.
Arsene praised Ozil after his winning goal, but encouraged him to shoot more often. He told the Guardian: “It’s superb, he can deliver that. It’s important for him that he takes the risk to do what he did.
“Usually he is a guy who, 99 per cent of the time, in this position, he controls the ball and gives it to somebody else. So I’m pleased he took the gamble to finish and I’m happy as well that he scored a very important goal.”
Whether Ozil and or Alexis will be at Arsenal after January is anyone's guess. I would say there's more chance of Sanchez staying, because he's not producing the sort of performances which would attract suitors.
But who knows, maybe Man City will buy him just because they can, and the powers that be will continue to turn a blind eye to financial fair play.
Afterwards Arsene was rather coy on the subject of whether Ozil would stay, saying: “I’m confident, yes. What that means, I don’t know.”
See you on Tuesday where hopefully we can seal our place in the League Cup semis.