‘Superb’ Ozil scores only goal as Arsenal edge-out Newcastle United
18 December, 2017 — By By Paul Cowling
Arsenal 1 (Ozil 23)
Newcastle United 0
ARSENAL made it ten straight Premier League wins over Newcastle United as they edged out the Geordie side thanks to a solitary Mesut Ozil goal in the first half.
Post match, Arsene Wenger paid tribute to the magic German.
“He (Ozil) is superb. He has scored an important goal.
“He can control the ball, and he can deliver.”
However, when asked whether Ozil will sign a new contract before the January transfer window, Wenger merely said that he was “Confident …whatever that means.”
Wenger had brought in Alexandre Lacazette for Olivier Giroud, as the only change from the side that started the drab goalless draw at West Ham in midweek.
That also meant continued starting berths for Jack Wilshere and youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles, at out-of-position left back.
It was the latter who breezed through the Newcastle back-line in the 13th minute, but his shot grazed the side-netting of Rob Elliot’s goal.
“Ainsley is very quick and adapts very well to playing at left back, but he has still got some aspects to learn,”
said Wenger of the England U21 player.
With Arsenal playing a rapid tempo, and forcing the Geordies into near submission, it was no surprise when ‘We’ve got Ozil‘ fired the Gunners into the lead in the 23rd minute.
An Alexis Sanchez shot was only half cleared, and the ball fell to the midfielder, who swivelled and volleyed into the net.
Arsenal continued their 75% possession in the second half.
But their 1-0 lead was still a precarious one, as the visitors began to carve out some chances of their own.
And as the game entered the last third, the Gunners had only three shots on target to the visitors’ two.
“We had 6 or 7 chances that we didn’t take, but some people are not happy because we only scored one goal, said a matter-of-fact Wenger.
Arsenal fans really breathed a sigh of relief on 79 minutes when a Joselu shot fizzled narrowly wide of the net, after taking a deflection of Gunners skipper Laurent Koscielny.
“There comes a time in the game when you are up against a team who get a chance. But three points is important,”
said the Arsenal coach.
So, as it was, Ozil’s goal was enough to give Gunners suppporters an early Christmas present and set them up for the Friday night shoot out with Liverpool at the Emirates.
Arsenal: Cech; Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Maitland-Niles; Xhaka, Wilshere; Iwobi (Welbeck 70) , Ozil, Sanchez (Coquelin 88) ; Lacazette (Giroud 70) Subs not used: Ospina, Chambers, Welbeck, Kolasinac, Elneny
Newcastle: Elliot; De Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo; Merino (Diame 81), Hayden, Atsu (Ritchie 52 ); Perez, Joselu, Murphy (Gayle 66) Subs not used: Clark, Dummett, Aarons, Darlow