WATFORD, United Kingdom, Aug 28 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged Mesut Ozil to build on his scoring start to the season after admitting the one element the midfielder’s game has lacked is goals.
Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez were on target in the Gunners’ 3-1 Premier League win at Watford on Saturday, their first victory of the campaign.
It was only the Germany international’s 21st goal for the north London club since joining them from Real Madrid in 2013 — and Wenger admitted that for a player widely regarded as world-class it is an area he can still improve.
Asked if Ozil’s presence had made a difference for the Gunners, Wenger replied: “Especially in the first half. In the second half he dropped physically. But of course we need him.
“I think what we have seen from him today is what we want from him. To give assists but as well to score goals.
“So I’m very happy that he scored today because that’s what he has to add to his game.
“We paid a heavy price in our first game (the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool) because we were not ready, we had not the players back at home.
“Now Mesut is nearly there, not completely, but he just goes again. For us, the break is not welcome.”
The pressure had been on Wenger and his side heading into the weekend after perfect starts from both Manchester clubs had left them playing catch-up.
This, then, was just the performance and outcome required heading into the international break.
– Good cushion –
“I believe we shot ourselves in the foot in first game (a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool) and were under huge pressure. We had two difficult away games (against Leicester City and Watford) but today I believe we had a good solid performance,” Wenger said.
“We had a good cushion at half-time. At the moment we are not completely there physically and you could see that in the second half.”
The imminent arrivals of defender Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia and striker Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna, both of whom Wenger confirmed had passed medicals, should go a step further towards placating fans left frustrated by their sluggish start.
“I think they should go through, both of them,” he said.
“They’ve had medicals and we have to finish the paperwork. I don’t know exactly when we’ll announce it, but I think we’ll announce it in the middle of the week.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, he added: “They will integrate into the team now and we will help them join the squad.
“We had to work very hard to get signings done. We have not got any plans for anyone else now.”
A 57th-minute debut goal from Hornets substitute Roberto Pereyra gave Walter Mazzarri’s side hope, yet ultimately it proved in vain as their wait for a maiden win of their own continues – placing their manager under scrutiny even at this early stage.
“A lot of players are new so we have to prepare later. The organisational things are still missing and two starting players were out last-minute and this really didn’t help,” Mazzarri said.