Captain Ozil leads sensational Arsenal fightback
Ten wins on the trot for Gunners as much-maligned midfielder inspires victory over Leicester at the Emirates Stadium
22 October, 2018 — By Tom Foot
ARSENAL 3 (Ozil 44, Aubameyang 63, 66)
LEICESTER CITY 1 (Bellerin og 31)
A FINISH of supreme brilliance from Mesut Ozil kickstarted an Arsenal fightback after Leicester took the lead at the Emirates.
The much-maligned midfielder slotted in like Lionel Messi against Spurs at the end of the first half, before bamboozling the Leicester defence in the second with a dummied one-two and unselfish cross for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to tap in after a breathtaking pitch-length move.
Fans will do well see two more outrageous goals all season – and all this after the Fulham antics. Watch out, Premier League, the entertainers are back.
Ozil’s masterclass was all the more satisfying as the rest of the team is clicking so well. Lucas Torriera is a reliable positive force in midfield.
Even Granit Xhaka playing left-back in the second half didn’t cause any problems. Alex Iwobi pulled off some Bergkamp-level control in midfield that got the crowd pumping and looked a threat throughout.
After the match Unai Emery – on a 10-game winning streak – said: “It’s our way. We need to continue looking very high. To play with the heart – for the supporters that is very important.
“We want to enjoy, but if you want to win you have to work. Enjoy with the work, is the best way.
“We are going to demand every match players play with this commitment and quality.
“It is important to now be calm, we are continuing doing our way and improving.”
The manager said he agreed with captain Ozil’s analysis that Arsenal played “sexy football”.
Despite this, Leicester had the better chances in the first half and the stumbling start to the match should worry the new manager.
World Cup hero Harry Maguire’s header was desperately scrambled away by Bernd Leno and it was not a massive surprise when Ben Chilwell’s cross got a big deflection off Hector Bellerin and found the net. The Arsenal right-back was unusually slow getting back to defend.
The Gunners defence looked shaky in the first half and Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka picked up yellow cards for sloppy fouls.
Ozil had been quietly going about his business, with a subtle touch here and a perfectly weighted ball there. His equaliser – a first time passed-shot in-off the post – came just before the break. It created a sense of inevitability that the winner would come.
Aubameyang won’t get too many easier chances to score than his opener, sweeping in a Bellerin cross after Ozil had split the defence. Minutes later he finished off one of the moves of the season, reminiscent of Aaron Ramsey’s goal against Fulham, that began with Leno and ended with Aubameyang passing into an empty net.
Alexandre Lacazette missed an open goal after being teed up by Ozil on 78. The striker had several chances and looked frustrated on the final whistle – but you can’t have everything. Next up are Sporting on Thursday before Palace away on Sunday.
ARSENAL: Leno, Holding, Mustafi, Bellerin, Lichtensteiner (Guendouzi 61), Xhaka, Torreira, Ozil (Ramsey 80), Mkhitaryan (Aubameyang 61), Iwobi, Lacazette.
Subs not used: Smith Rowe, Welbeck, Martinez, Medley.
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Evans, Iheanacho, Vardy, Maddison, Pereira, Maguire, Amartey, Mendy, Ndidi.
Subs: Soyunchu, Albrighton, Ward, Okazaki, Iborra, Fuchs, Ghezzal.