Mesut Ozil back to life with a bang

Arsenal 3 West Ham 0: Mesut Ozil finally turned up in an Arsenal shirt when his team needed him most.

Mesut Ozil back to life with a bang

The enigmatic German midfielder has so often gone missing in important matches, but this time he took a match by the scruff of the neck.

Ozil scored one and made another for Theo Walcott as he single-handedly turned a potentially miserable night for Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger into a victory that puts them back in touch with the top four.

An audacious late third from Olivier Giroud sealed a deserved London derby victory.

Arsenal’s first Premier League win since they beat Hull at home almost two months ago propelled them up to fifth in the table, just four points behind fourth-placed Manchester City and with a game in hand.

And on a night when protests against Wenger were cancelled due to a lack of numbers — they even chanted ‘One Arsene Wenger’ after the match, the French manager was able to sit back and let his players talk for him.

And Ozil, for a change, was heard the loudest.

He, like his boss, is deliberating over a new deal and many seasoned Arsenal supporters would happily see him move on this summer too. But not if he plays like this more often.

Arsenal had the best of a relatively nondescript first half and were unfortunate not to be ahead against a West Ham side now facing a serious relegation battle having lost five-in-a-row.

Both sets of supporters applauded their respective teams off at the break but the boos rang out around the ground for referee Martin Atkinson, who they deemed to have missed a series of decisions for either side.

It was West Ham who had suffered physically in the first 45 minutes, however, as the impressive Michail Antonio failed to appear for the second half on his comeback match following a hamstring problem.

Ozil then began to exert his influence on the game as Arsenal resumed play on full attack mode. The German’s initial best efforts to get clear were twice cut out by impressive tackles from West Ham defender James Collins.

In a rare sustained spell of determination from the World Cup winning midfielder, he stuck to his task and duly scored in the 58th minute.

Jose Fonte cleared straight to the Arsenal man who controlled the ball 20 yards out and coolly curled in a bouncing left foot shot beyond Darren Randolph’s despairing dive.

Ozil was then involved in two decent chances for Danny Welbeck to put the game to bed either side of the ineffective Andy Carroll being taken off for West Ham.

The change made little difference as Arsenal kept pressing for a second and Ozil served it up on a plate for Walcott with 22 minutes to go.

The England international captained the side in the absence of Laurent Koscielny and gave a leader’s display too.

He made way to a standing ovation for Giroud with just over 15 minutes to go and his French replacement continued where he left off.

Alexis Sanchez was the provider this time as one of many tireless runs presented him with a chance on the edge of the area.

Giroud curled in with even more style than Ozil to complete West Ham’s misery and Arsenal’s joy.

They could and should have won by a whole lot more despite Atkinson turning down three decent penalty appeals.

The outcome had seemed unlikely at the break after an uneventful first half.

The first shot on target did not come until 25 minutes when Walcott struck a first time effort straight at Randolph from a Hector Bellerin pass.

He then appealed for a penalty following a challenge from Arthur Masuaku.

Welbeck missed a great chance form an Ozil cross soon after and Walcott fired one over after cutting in from the right.

Arsenal began to turn the screw, however, shortly before half-time when they twice went close to taking the lead.

First Bellerin and Mohamed Elneny, selected in midfield ahead of Francis Coquelin, had shots blocked in immediate succession and then Welbeck flashed a header on target from the corner.

The crowd came to life too as the effervescent Sanchez forced a chance for Ozil, who struck against a post before being flagged for offside.

West Ham were time-wasting already but it needed something special to break them down. How long Arsenal have waited for Ozil to be that man. What a difference when he plays to his full ability.

ARSENAL (4-2-3-1):

Martinez 7; Bellerin 6, Mustafi 7, Gabriel 7, Monreal 7; Elneny 6 (Ramsey 81, 6), Xhaka 6; Walcott 7 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 81, 6), Ozil 8, Sanchez 7; Welbeck 6 (Giroud 74, 6). Subs: Macey, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Iwobi.

WEST HAM (4-2-3-1):

Randolph 6; Byram 6, Collins 7, Fonte 5, Masuaku 5; Kouyate 5, Noble 5 (Fernandes 81, 6)); Antonio 7 (Snodgrass 45, ), Lanzini 5, Ayew 6; Carrol 4 (Sakho 63, ). Subs: Adrian, Nordtveit, Feghouli, Calleri.


Martin Atkinson 5

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