Arsene Wenger has heaped praise on debutant Mesut Ozil after he played a key role in Arsenal’s 3-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday.
Ozil arrived at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid for a club-record fee on transfer deadline day, and set about repaying some of his new club’s reported £42.5million outlay with a superb performance at the Stadium of Light.
The Germany international had been a doubt in the lead-up to the game due to illness but, despite not being 100 per cent fit, showcased his ability throughout the game and created Olivier Giroud’s first-half opener.
And manager Wenger admitted he was delighted by his new signing’s display, particularly before the break.
“He was like the team. He had an outstanding first half and dropped physically in the second half,” the Frenchman said.
“He was sick on Thursday night and I decided only today to play him this morning. He had a stomach bug and didn’t feel well, but he dropped a bit physically in the second half but his first half was outstanding.”
Wenger went on to laud the performance of striker Giroud, who broke the deadlock with his fourth Premier League goal of the season before setting up Aaron Ramsey’s second strike with a deft throughball.
“I’m extremely happy with Giroud today, not only because he scored but his overall link-play is improving from game-to-game. I think he is becoming a very important player for us,” he added.
However, the France international could be set for a spell on the sidelines after being withdrawn late on with a knee injury – a prospect that concerns Wenger.
“We are very thin at the moment … he is the player at the moment that would be very difficult for us (to replace),” he stated.