LONDON — Mesut Ozil is on fire right now and his manager thinks he knows why.
Ozil grabbed a goal and two assists as Arsenal brushed aside Huddersfield Town 5-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday, with the German playmaker stringing together two fine performances in a row at home after his assist and spirited display in the victory against Tottenham Hotspur 10 days ago.
His manager, Arsene Wenger, will be hoping it’s three fine displays in a row at the Emirates Stadium for Ozil as the Gunners host Manchester United on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) in a massive top four battle.
“Nobody has to convince us he is a great football player but he’s added something people wanted to see from him as well, against Spurs and tonight again, that he can fight and he can come back and win the ball back,” Wenger said. “Once people see that, they are behind you. Everyone knows in the stadium that he is a great football player and at the moment he shows as well that he can fight.”
With five assists and two goals in his last five Premier League games for Arsenal, Ozil had led their charge back into the top four ahead of a huge clash with Man United.
Asked what the difference has been in his play of late, Wenger believes Ozil’s maturity is shining through and praised his ability to always want the ball, no matter what.
“Our job is to encourage people to fight and he always covered the distance in the game but maybe he is at an age where he is mature and he understands what is important and is less important… I think everybody wants to be acknowledged for his qualities. The judgement’s are also harsh in the job of a footballer but overall I believe the majority of the people here love him, and always loved him,” Wenger added.
His current contract situation isn’t impacting Ozil’s play and even though he’s out of contract at Arsenal on July 1, 2018 and free to talk to non-English teams from Jan. 1, Wenger is only focused on the German’s champagne displays in the here and now.
He will certainly be hoping he produces it against United on Saturday as the Gunners can move just one point behind the Red Devils who currently occupy second place.
It wasn’t all good news for Arsenal on Wednesday, though, as they lost their leading goalscorer this season in Alexandre Lacazette.
The Frenchman scored early on, his seventh PL game of the campaign, but was replaced at half time by Olivier Giroud (who scored twice) and Wenger confirmed he won’t make the clash with United on Saturday.
“Lacazette has a groin problem and he is out, certainly, for Saturday’s game,” Wenger confirmed.
As long as Ozil is pulling the strings and as hungry as he has been, the supporting cast of Alexis Sanchez, Giroud and others around will have plenty of service to punish opponents.
Arsenal’s main man for so long has been Sanchez but Ozil is proving his worth and seems to be digging deeper than ever.