Mesut Ozil is confident of winning trophies at Arsenal

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Mesut Ozil has revealed that he chose Arsenal for their style of play and is confident the club will win trophies.

Speaking with Arsenal’s official website in his first interview as a Gunner, Ozil addressed why he chose to sign with the North London side. “I chose Arsenal because they are one of the top clubs in England,” Ozil said. “The coach is a world-class manager – he’s demonstrated that for years. A lot of players have developed under his guidance in the past and that’s why I decided to join Arsenal.”

Ozil also noted his admiration for Arsenal’s slick passing, free flowing style of football. “I want to improve myself further and I’m looking forward to the style of play. Arsenal are well known for the strength of their technical game and their desire to play attacking football. I think I will fit perfectly into that.”

The general consensus is that Ozil will play as the central attacking midfielder in Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 scheme. That means Tomas Rosicky, who has performed admirably in that role during the opening of the season, will likely be dropped to the bench. Flanking Ozil on the left will be Santi Cazorla and on the right, Theo Walcott, with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey playmaking from the rear.

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Mesut Ozil’s vision, skill and affinity for the short passing game should fit right in with Arsenal’s style of play.

It’s that combination of skill, creativity and pace that Ozil claims drew him to Arsenal. “Arsenal are one of the technically strongest teams in the world,” Ozil explained. “The manager always wants to play attractive and attacking football. I think I fit into that because I enjoy playing quickly – that ’one-touch football’.”

The 24 year old is well aware of Arsenal’s eight year trophy drought and has his sites set on extinguishing that blemish. “In the last few years, Arsenal haven’t been so successful but we want to become more successful. We want to win trophies. I think the fans are looking forward to that too. We have a very strong and a very young team that can improve a lot under the manager. I think we will win trophies because we have the potential [to do so].”

The presence of countrymen Per Mertersacker and Lukas Podolski should go a long way to helping reduce Ozil’s adjustment period. Podolski told the London Evening Standard on Thursday that he is relishing playing alongside his Ozil.

“Mesut will help us in any situation,” Podolski said. “Our system and game at Arsenal will fit very well to him. Definitely Mesut and I will rock Arsenal. It is our great goal to have success in London.”

For Ozil, it comes down to wanting to prove himself. After being told he no longer figured in the plans of Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti following the signing of Gareth Bale, Ozil decided to reinvent himself in the Premier League.

“I’m happy to be playing in the Premier League because everyone knows it’s the strongest league in the world,” Ozil said. “There are simply a lot of top teams. I want to prove myself there. It’s a new challenge for me, a new task. I’m looking forward to that. I want to improve further under the boss and in the team. I’m really excited about it.”

Ozil’s first match with Arsenal kicks off Saturday September 14th at Sunderland.

Pochettino: “Challenge is to keep going” ahead of North London Derby

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Mauricio Pochettino was thrilled to see Tottenham Hotspur’s title push continue with a win over in-form Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Spurs won 1-0 on a beautiful Christian Eriksen goal from distance, moving back to within four points of Premier League leading Chelsea.

[ RECAP: Palace 0-1 Spurs ]

Pochettino’s men didn’t stop fighting for the winner despite relentless fight from the home side, with improving mettle on display this season.

“Unbelievable. Very good performance. I think second half we played much better than in the first half. It was difficult in the first half for us to move the ball and find the space but we changed the shape at half time and it was more fluid, we started to find the space and started to push Palace deeper and deeper.”

After two tough London Derbies — Spurs fell 4-2 to Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal — Tottenham now has the big one: a visit from Arsenal in the North London Derby.

“It was good to get the three points and be alive in the race for the title. The challenge is to keep going. It is always better to win but it is true [the Arsenal game] is a big derby, perhaps the last at White Hart Lane and I think it will be an exciting game.”

We’re ready for it. Spurs will be favored to pick up all three points, but all bets are off when it comes to the NLD. That’s especially true considering the ticking Top Four clock for Arsenal and the title fight for Spurs.

Palace 0-1 Spurs: Eriksen saves the day

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  • Sakho stretchered off
  • Eriksen rescues title hope
  • Spurs four back of Chelsea

Palace made them work for it.

Tottenham Hotspur didn’t exactly sends chills down the spine of Chelsea with its performance, but Spurs found a way past tricky and in-form Crystal Palace on Wednesday at Selhurst Park.

Christian Eriksen‘s pretty goal sealed the three points for Spurs, who have five matches to chase down four points from the Blues.

Palace sits 12th, seven points clear of 18th place Swansea City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Two in-forms started with confidence, Harry Kane lashing wide of the frame for Spurs and Wilfried Zaha driving Palace on the right wing.

Another in-form Eagles attacker, Christian Benteke, did well to create space and hit a low shot that forced Hugo Lloris to ground.

Victor Wanyama was on yellow when he slid to intercept Andros Townsend, taking the Englishman to the turf. Jon Moss gave Wanyama a harsh warning, but did not produce the red card.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min were called upon soon after the break to liven up Spurs attack.

The substitution that stood to shake up the match was Palace center back Mamadou Sakho, who was hurt with about 40 minutes to play.

Eriksen stung a shot across goal for the eventual winner, a rare moment of class from a three-match day that didn’t quite fit the standard of the Premier League.

Arsenal 1-0 Leicester City: Only an own goal

AP Photo/Alastair Grant
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  • Chances at a premium
  • Monreal forces Huth own goal
  • Arsenal moves sixth
  • Foxes six clear of drop

Nacho Monreal‘s desperate shot ricocheted off Robert Huth‘s chest and gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Entertainment value wasn’t high over the course of the match, as Arsenal had trouble piercing Leicester’s congested back four.

Arsenal is now three points back of Manchester United and four behind Man City before Thursday’s Manchester Derby.

Leicester is six points clear of 18th and has played one less game than most of the teams chasing them.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal had most of the ball to start the match, but needed to make the first big stop. Petr Cech kept the match goalless when he flew to stop a left-footed whip from Riyad Mahrez.

At the other end, Mesut Ozil set up Theo Walcott for a chance that prodded a solid save from Kasper Schmeichel.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Wilfried Ndidi was again a monster in the middle third for Leicester, arguably the main reason the Foxes have rebounded from their relegation plight.

Arsenal had a chance pushed away from danger by Robert Huth after Alexis Sanchez misjudged his time on the ball in front of goal in the 56th minute.

Schmeichel then dove to slap away a deflected Francis Coquelin shot.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Laurent Koscielny went down in pain after landing awkwardly in the 79th minute, leaving a gap in space that Shinji Okazaki would’ve exploited were it not for a block from Gabriel Paulista.

Leicester’s Yohan Benalouane should’ve seen red with 10 minutes to play following a leaping boot to the back of Olivier Giroud, but only a foul was given.

Ndidi made a sliding intervention on Mesut Ozil in the 85th minute, another terrific bit of work from the Nigerian.

That’s when Huth’s unlucky moment lifted Arsenal to the lead.

Middlesbrough 1-0 Sunderland: Derby honors and a bit of life

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  • Boro’s first PL win since Dec. 17
  • Smoggies move within six of 17th
  • Sunderland on verge of relegation

Marten De Roon snared Middlesbrough new hope at safety and a derby win as Boro scored early to complete a season sweep of Tees-Wear Derby rivals Sunderland on Wednesday.

The 1-0 win means Sunderland is 12 points back of 17th place Hull City with five matches to play. Hull has four matches left.

For Boro, it’s six points back of Hull but a devastating run-in that includes Man City, Chelsea, Southampton, and Liverpool.

The win was USMNT backstop Brad Guzan‘s second of the Premier League season, the first coming in the reverse fixture.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

De Roon tilted the Tees-Wear Derby to Boro’s side with an opening goal that could signal the end of Sunderland’s slim safety hopes.

Stewart Downing tempted 2-0 with a hard low shot that Jordan Pickford did very well to save with a leg.

Sunderland did find a bit of danger when Didier N’Dong forced Brad Guzan into a save, but Billy Jones nodded over the frame.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]