Mesut Ozil has hailed Arsenal’s improvement this term, insisting an increase in confidence has made them more dominant.
Arsene Wenger’s side occupy second position in the Premier League, five points adrift of leaders Leicester City, and host third-placed Manchester City on Monday.
Germany playmaker Ozil believes Arsenal have a new-found hunger and belief this term which could see them overcome any opponent.
“We are a more confident team this season. I can feel as a player on the pitch the team is more confident when we play. We dominate the other team,” Ozil told The Times.
“The team believes in itself more this season. It’s not just started now. It’s been going for the whole year. We played very good football in the second half of last season. The players believe we can be successful this season.
“I believe we will take the three points from City. We want to win because it’s at our home and we want to be successful. We are more hungry this season.
“Look at the Champions League. You could see us in Athens against Olympiacos [on December 9]: we just needed two goals but we went for the third one. We showed more confidence, more hunger.”
Arsenal will face defending champions Barcelona – who claimed the Club World Cup on Sunday – in the last 16 of the Champions League, and Ozil feels it will be a great test.
“Barcelona are the hardest team in the world to play against. Barcelona are the best team at the moment in the world. We know that, but as a player I look forward to encounters like this,” he continued.
“For me it is important to have these big games, it’s nice to play against the best teams, to compete with them is a big opportunity for us.
“We respect Barcelona but they will respect us too. We beat Bayern Munich at home. We are not afraid of Barcelona. We just need to play our game and we can beat them.”
Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have scored 52 goals between them in all competitions so far this term, but former Real Madrid man Ozil insists the Arsenal defenders will not be intimidated.
“There is no fear. In football everything’s possible. It is a tough match but I don’t think our defenders were afraid after the draw,” Ozil added.
“It’s a big opportunity for them to prove themselves against the best attack in the world, players like Suarez, Messi, Neymar. It will be an exciting game, with the possibility of lots of goals, but it’s not like we are afraid.”
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