London – Arsene Wenger believes there is more to come from Mesut Ozil after the Germany international continued his impressive start to life at Arsenal.
Ozil has already provided three assists – more than any other Premier League player – after just two league games for his new club following his £42.4 million move from Real Madrid.
The playmaker teed up two of the Gunners' goals in the 3-1 victory over Stoke City and had a hand in the third when his free-kick was parried into the path of Aaron Ramsey by Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Arsenal manager Wenger believes the club record signing is already showing his qualities, but claims he will display his full repertoire of skills when he has settled into his new surroundings.
“When you look at his numbers, the assists are not a coincidence, it is the reality of his game,” Wenger said after a win that left Arsenal top of the Premier League on goal difference from arch-rivals Tottenham.
“And I believe once he will be completely integrated you will see even more but he has shown today he is a great player,” the Frenchman added.
“It shows you that football is football. When you have a ball you make a good pass or a bad pass. The good players make a good pass and the bad players make a bad pass, whether it is in Spain or in England, it is exactly the same.
“He has good pace as well. Individually a lot of focus is on his passing but individually he can create.”
Wenger accepts Ozil's arrival has had a major impact but believes it will be the contribution of his wider squad that determines whether Arsenal can sustain their position at the top of the table.
“Look, it's not him only. He gave a lift to everyone at the club. For the rest, it will be the quality of our teamwork that will decide that,” Wenger said.
“The only thing about our position at the moment is we are in a position where we can focus on improvement in a stable environment. That is a good basis for the rest of the season.”
Ramsey's sixth-minute opening goal was cancelled out by Geoff Cameron's 26th-minute equaliser before Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna both headed home from Ozil set-pieces to clinch victory.
Wenger was forced to change his line-up before kick-off after Theo Walcott pulled up during the warm-up and the manager admitted concern over the England international's injury.
“He had an abdominal muscle problem. Nobody can tell me what it is but it is a matter of days I hope,” Wenger said.
“He had a test before the game and I decided to play him. He had a little problem before the Marseille game and it became a bit worse.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes was left frustrated by his side's failure to defend Arsenal's set-pieces.
“We're disappointed with scoreline in terms of way we conceded three goals from set plays. That's something that doesn't normally happen to Stoke teams.
“Arsenal are an outstanding team and they have added a top-class player in Ozil who had influence again today.
“We needed to keep him quiet and we did that in general play. He (Ozil) has excellent delivery from set-pieces but we didn't get the details right.”
Hughes handed a debut to Austria striker Marko Arnautovic and the manager, himself a former Manchester United forward, said: “He did fine. I wanted to play him against top class opposition and it was important he did well. He has integrated very quickly.” – Sapa-AFP