Ostersunds 0 Arsenal 3: Ozil crowns Arctic stroll for Wenger’s men

Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil were on target either side of a Sotirios Papagiannopoulos own goal as Arsenal eased to a 3-0 win at Ostersunds.

Arsenal avoided any undue alarms as they cruised to a 3-0 Europa League win over Swedish minnows Ostersunds.

Arsene Wenger’s men emerged in sub-zero temperatures at the Jamtkraft Arena and there was little prospect of the contest warming up after defensive errors from the hosts gifted a 13th-minute opener to Nacho Monreal.

Sotirios Papagiannopoulos’ own goal compounded matters for Ostersunds and their English coach Graham Potter and, although their performance improved, Mesut Ozil marked his first appearance in the Europa League this season with a third in the 58th minute.

A run to the last-32 featuring wins over the likes of Galatasaray and Hertha Berlin has seen Ostersunds’ produce a modern footballing fairytale in the Europa League this season.

They will need something altogether more fantastical to turn the tie around at Emirates Stadium next week – even more so after Tom Pettersson had a stoppage-time penalty saved, Hector Bellerin having needlessly hauled down substitute Tesfaldet Tekie.

Ostersunds goalkeeper Aly Keita put his side in trouble with a poor pass out in the 12th minute, only spared when Papagiannopoulos bravely blocked from Ozil, and his poor handling allowed Monreal to follow up Alex Iwobi’s shot and open the scoring moments later.

The entirely avoidable nature of the goals conceded by a seemingly overawed Ostersunds will have irritated Potter and Papagiannopoulos was powerless to avoid a 24th-minute own-goal after Pettersson gave away possession inside his own box for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to drill into the goalmouth.

Some similarly slack work in the defensive half from Arsenal prompted the hosts’ first opening, with David Ospina acrobatically pushing over Alhaji Gero’s shot from the edge of the area.

Ostersunds had grown into the contest as half-time approached and striker Saman Ghoddos drove at a backpedalling Arsenal backline to fire narrowly wide.

Potter sent on Tekie and Jamie Hopcutt in place of captain Brwa Nouri and Gero, a move that further encouraged his team’s resurgence in the contest.

Shkodran Mustafi turned anxiously to the referee before the hour when Tekie went down in the area under pressure from the Germany international. Play was allowed to continue and Arsenal glided down the other end to make it three.

Ozil exchanged passes pleasingly with Mkhitaryan but Keita was culpable once again, getting his hands to a shot that squirmed over the line.

Much of the remaining action resembled an extended training drill as far as the Premier League side were concerned, with prospects of defeat to a club who have been in existence for a shorter time than Wenger has been Arsenal manager all but extinguished by the time Pettersson rounded out a dismal individual outing by stroking his penalty into Ospina’s arms.

Source: www.goal.com


How Arsenal plan to build a successful future around Mesut Ozil

The decision to commit the best years of his career to Arsenal is a sign of both the player and club’s greater ambitions

Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan are the start of more playing staff arrivals set to happen this summer, with an experienced defender and defensive midfielder at the top of Wenger’s wishlist.Arsenal made three acquisitions in January, with Konstantinos Mavropanos joining at the start of the month, Henrikh Mkhitaryan arriving as part of a swap deal with Alexis Sanchez, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becoming the club’s record acquisition on transfer deadline day.

However, Mesut Ozil might turn out to be the most important signing of all, with the attacking midfielder having finally pen to paper on a new, three-year contract, after months of negotiations with the club.

Quite simply, Ozil’s decision to commit his long-term future to the Gunners is a massive boost for everyone at the Emirates.

Since making his league debut in August 2006, the Germany international is the only player to have created over 1000 goalscoring chances within Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues. He’s also provided more assists than any other player (49 in 136 appearances) and created more goalscoring chances from open play (60) than any other player operating in the Premier League, the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A or Ligue 1 this season.

The numbers are astounding yet Ozil has received his fair share of criticism during his four and a half years at the club. Ex-players have been quick to lambast the playmaker for “not tracking back enough” or only being a “luxury player”, but none of those accusations add up.

In an article published on Goal last season, it was revealed that Ozil had covered more ground per 90 minutes in the league than Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny.

Results have been inconsistent in the Premier League this season but the rejuvenation project at Emirates Stadium is well and truly underway.

A new de-facto director of football in Raul Sanllehi, a new head of recruitment in Sven Mislintat and a contracts negotiator in Huss Fahmy have been in put in place by chief executive Ivan Gazidis, meaning that when Arsene Wenger is eventually replaced, the transition from one manager to another will be a far smoother process that it would have previously been.

Furthermore, as the Frenchman’s power becomes gradually divided among a group of innovative, well-connected football figureheads, Arsenal will aim to build their team around one man.

Ozil admitted last summer that he is just as ambitious as his former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I am also a perfectionist,” the 29-year-old has said. “I want to be successful with everything I do.

“During the time I played alongside Ronaldo [at Real Madrid], I saw that he always wanted to win everything, even on the training pitch. He is never satisfied and always wants more. He always wants more titles and there are not a lot of players with that attitude.”

Ozil, though, possesses the same drive and insatiable appetite for silverware. His decision to extend his contract was founded on the belief that he can realise his goals in north London.

Indeed, he knows that Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan are just the start of a planned revamp of the Arsenal squad, with an experienced defender and defensive midfielder at the top of Wenger’s wishlist.

There are other factors behind Ozil’s decision to commit to Arsenal, which go beyond football, including his relationship with Swedish-Turkish actress Amine Gulse. The two plan to settle in London and with Ozil’s network of close friends also based in the capital it was a logical choice to sign on the dotted line as the city is where he feels at home.

Furthermore, Ozil ignored overtures from Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain, as well as astronomical offers from clubs in the Chinese Super League. This may well have been his last chance to land a colossal contract but his decision was not solely motivated by money. It was a carefully considered choice, based on happiness and future ambition.

The contract extension gives Ozil the chance to become a club legend. He has the opportunity to be mentioned in the same breath as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira if he continues to break records on the pitch. With three FA Cups to his name and surely more silverware on the horizon, the deal means a lot more than a world-class player signing a new contract.

Can Arsenal match Ozil’s ambition? The signings of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan are a good start and Mislintat’s wide scouting network bodes well for the future.

Clearly, there are more issues to resolve, particularly in defence, but a Carabao Cup-winning opportunity later this month and a chance to pick up a European trophy at the end of the season are achievable aims for Ozil and Arsenal.

Wenger has challenged him to lead the team to success on the pitch after signing his new deal and there is no-one more focused at doing that at that right now than the talismanic World Cup winner.

[Source: www.goal.com]

Mesut Ozil signs new long-term contract with Arsenal

An excellent transfer deadline day for the Gunners has been followed by the news their Germany star has agreed a new deal

Arsenal have confirmed that Mesut Ozil has signed a new long-term contract with the club.

As revealed by Goal on Wednesday, the 29-year-old has committed his future to the north London giants by signing a new three-year contract which will keep him at Emirates Stadium until 2021.

The Germany international’s deal was set to expire at the end of the season and there had been interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain, as well as big money offers from clubs in the Chinese Super League.

“We’re delighted to announce that Mesut Ozil has signed a new long-term contract with us,” the club confirmed via their official website.

“Congratulations Mesut – here’s to many more years of success.”

Writing on his official Instagram page, Ozil said: “It’s been one of the most important decisions of my footballing career and that’s why I had to think hard and talk with everyone who’s important to me…

“Good things take time! In the end I let my heart decide.”

Arsenal had already lost Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in a swap-deal involving the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan after the Chilean’s contract entered its final six months.

Writing on his official Instagram page, Ozil said: “It’s been one of the most important decisions of my footballing career and that’s why I had to think hard and talk with everyone who’s important to me…

“Good things take time! In the end I let my heart decide.”

Arsenal had already lost Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in a swap-deal involving the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan after the Chilean’s contract entered its final six months.

[Source: www.goal.com]

Ozil close to signing Arsenal contract

The German international will put pen to paper in the coming days after agreeing a new contract with the Gunners

Mesut Ozil is set to sign a new contract extension with Arsenal in the coming days, Goal can confirm.

The Germany international’s current deal is due to expire at the end of June but he is expected to commit himself to a new long-term contract at Emirates Stadium.

“Our intention is to keep Ozil at the club. Hopefully, we will manage to do that very soon,” the Frenchman said last Friday. “The vibe I get from his commitment, focus and desire, he behaves like someone who is ready to commit. After that, contract negotiations are what they are.”

The situation was very different at the beginning of January, when the player had yet to decide where his future lay and speculation that Manchester United may move for him was abound.

Though team-mate Alexis Sanchez ultimately moved to Old Trafford, Ozil will not follow him after deciding to pledge his future to Arsenal.

With the Gunners set to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Dortmund, the news of the 29-year-old’s decision will act as a further boost for Arsene Wenger’s side, who lost 3-1 at Swansea on Tuesday – a game in which new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan made his debut.

Goal understands that Ozil’s decision to sign an extension is not related to the new arrivals of Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He previously revealed his love for London and Arsenal in an interview with Goal last year.

Ozil, who has registered 49 assists since his Premier League debut five years ago, joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 for a then club record fee of £42.5 million.

[Source: www.goal.com]