0Shares0000Mesut Ozil (L) teed up first-half goals for Theo Walcott (C) and Olivier Giroud (R) at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal secured a 2-1 win over Manchester City. PHOTO/AFPLONDON, December 22- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger heralded Mesut Ozil after the German playmaker rose from his sickbed to inspire his team to victory over Premier League title rivals Manchester City.Ozil teed up first-half goals for Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud at the Emirates Stadium on Monday as Arsenal secured a 2-1 win that left them four points above City and two points below leaders Leicester City. Ozil, 27, now has 15 assists for the campaign — just three fewer than Cesc Fabregas’s league-leading tally from last season — and Wenger revealed afterwards that he had spent most of the previous week in bed.“He had a chest infection for the week and he was in bed, basically,” Wenger said.“He had only one training session yesterday. So for a guy who could not prepare well, he has done extremely well physically.”Despite Ozil’s role in the build-up, Walcott’s goal was primarily his own work, the England forward cutting inside his man from the left and curling a glorious right-foot shot inside the right-hand post from 20 yards.But the assist for Giroud’s goal, in first-half stoppage time, was vintage Ozil, the former Real Madrid man sliding a pass into the path of the Arsenal centre-forward, who drilled a low shot between Joe Hart’s legs.“At the end of the day you need one guy who gives the ball to the one who scores the goal,” Wenger told his post-game press conference.“In our team, most of the time, Ozil is this player. The guys who make you win. And he is that.”Wenger also revealed that striker Alexis Sanchez has sustained a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury that is likely to keep him out of action for three weeks.City threatened to snatch an improbable point when Yaya Toure languidly stroked a left-foot shot into Petr Cech’s top-right corner with eight minutes to play, but by then the damage had already been done.With captain Vincent Kompany still absent due to a calf injury, City looked vulnerable at centre-back, where Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi once again toiled.– ‘Ready to fight’ –Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker (C) and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure during their Premier League match at Emirates Stadium on December 21, 2015. PHOTO/AFPCity have kept one clean sheet in the nine league games Kompany has missed, compared to seven in the eight games he has played, and manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted that his side are “conceding too many goals”.There was also tacit acknowledgement that City, who have already lost five times this season, will struggle to mount a sustained title challenge without Kompany in their ranks.“We hope that Vincent will return back soon,” Pellegrini said.“So with Vincent returning to the team, with David (Silva) and Sergio (Aguero) playing normally every week, I suppose we are going to continue being an important team in the fight for the title.”Confirmation that Pep Guardiola is to leave Bayern Munich has only heightened speculation that Pellegrini’s days at the Etihad Stadium are numbered, but he said that he had no trouble dealing with the rumours.“No, it’s no difficult,” he said. “It’s very easy. You must be concentrated and focused on your work.“I understand that we must improve, especially in the games that we are playing away. But we’ll continue being involved in all the competitions. They’re important points, but not decisive points.”While Wenger was wary of declaring his team title favourites, he acknowledged that victory over City will galvanise conviction that Arsenal can end their 12-year wait for the Premier League title.“It’s too early to say to win the league, but it strengthens our belief that we have our word to say,” he said.“You realise that you earn your right to win these games. For us it’s important we realise that. We have to be ready to fight like that in every single game.“What’s interesting in my side is there’s a real life in the team, a real togetherness and great solidarity. So let’s take care of that.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Rashford joined in on the act by completing a fine counter-attack as the visitors took their goal tally to 14 goals in four matches.A first clean sheet was another shot in the arm, although poor misses from Atsu and Salomon Rondon underlined the work still required for Solskjaer at the back.The Newcastle pair were a particularly unsettling presence in the first half.Paul Pogba and Rashford had early attempts, before Atsu forced David De Gea into a good low stop in the 13th minute.The fleet-footed Ghanaian quickly got another attempt on goal as United wobbled, with Phil Jones looking most likely to falter. It took a superb recovery tackle to prevent Rondon scoring after the visiting centre-back lost his nerve under pressure when facing his own goal.Atsu sent a shot across De Gea’s goal as Newcastle continued to threaten a surprise opener in a match that the home side were dominating most of the play. Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 100 per cent record as Manchester United manager continued as the Red Devils won at Newcastle United 2-0.Solskjaer has now won his first four games in charge of the club with second half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford to thank for giving him the points at St James’ Park. ADVICE Paul Pogba shields the ball against Newcastle 4 REPLY Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Anthony Martial was troubling the hosts with his movement and struck over the bar shortly after Dubravka rushed out to block Rashford.The England forward had half-hearted penalty appeals rejected and Pogba dragged wide towards the end of the half, with Rondon heading over when well placed.Solskjaer’s Reds returned in bright form and Rashford lashed across the face of goal shortly after play resumed, but they were far from in control. Atsu continued to prove a handful and hit across the face of goal before seeing penalty appeals rejected, with Jonjo Shelvey, on for the injured Mohamed Diame, seeing a shot safely dealt with by De Gea.Solskjaer turned to his talent-filled bench in the 63rd minute, bringing on Alexis Sanchez and Lukaku – a move that paid immediate dividends.Rashford stood over the ball 30 yards from goal and hit a fizzing free-kick that Dubravka inexplicably spilled, with Lukaku alert to direct home with his first touch. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a perfect record as United boss huge blow Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? It is back-to-back goals for both Lukaku and Rashford as the club are flourishing under their caretaker boss.It was a dogged display that showed flashes of exciting attacking football at a ground where United had fallen to defeat in February, thanks in no small part to a man-of-the-match display by Martin Dubravka.Newcastle’s goalkeeper was in the headlines for the wrong reasons this time as he spilled a stinging Rashford free-kick, allowing sub Lukaku to turn home just 38 seconds after coming on. Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move RANKED no dice REVEALED Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions 4 Latest Football News MONEY REVEALED Lukaku scoring his goal for Manchester United BEST OF Phil Jones puts in a challenge at St James’ Park shining Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars 4 Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury 4 It was a gut punch that Newcastle attempted to react to, with Atsu going closest with an effort that some inside the ground thought was in.But Solskjaer’s side showed their teeth to wrap things up on the break.Lukaku, Sanchez and Rashford were all involved during a sharp counter attack that showed smart interplay and a calm finish by the latter.Newcastle had a few half chances as they pushed for a late consolation, although Pogba wasted the chance for a late third after rounding the goalkeeper.