December 27, 2019

Arteta delighted with Ozil’s ‘incredible attitude’ after offering clean slate

Mikel Arteta has praised Mesut Ozil for his “incredible” attitude after restoring the Arsenal midfielder to his starting XI for the 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.

Ozil missed the final game of interim boss Freddie Ljungberg’s spell in charge at Everton due to a foot injury, though the Swede said he would not have featured anyway after he reacted angrily to getting substituted in the loss at Manchester City.

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The midfielder had barely featured under Unai Emery earlier in the season either but Arteta, appointed last week, called the German “a massive player” at his first news conference.

He backed up that comment by naming Ozil in his first-team and Arteta was impressed with what he saw from the 31-year-old at Bournemouth, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Dan Gosling’s opener.

“To be fair, his attitude in training since the day that I walked in the building has been incredible,” Arteta told reporters.

“I’ve seen this and I said I would give a clean slate to everybody and that was for him too.

“When we were preparing and watching where we could hurt the opponent, we believed he could be a key point.

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“Like this, he responded, did what he had to do and we could have put two or three goals in the net because of him.”
The Gunners did not have a shot on target in the first period and trailed at the break after Gosling struck 10 minutes before half-time.

However, Arteta was pleased by the reaction after the break as Aubameyang’s 12th Premier League goal of the season ensured he avoided a losing start.

“I was worried to see what would happen if we conceded and we did, but I was very pleased with the character they showed,” Arteta added.

“The way they came in at half-time, their faces, their reactions and how much they wanted it… Normally when you are in this process, the belief goes down and a lot of things from the past can come back but that didn’t happen, the opposite did, and that’s really positive.”

Arteta took the Gunners job following a spell as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City and Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe thought there was an obvious shift in the Gunners’ tactical approach.

“We assumed their philosophy would change and I think it did,” he said.

“It was quite visible to see them playing in a slightly different way.

“The system was different but we couldn’t plan for that.

“We had no idea really what they were going to do, we had to plan for us and make sure we were better than we were against Burnley.”


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