Ozil inspires Arsenal to 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield
LONDON (AP) — Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has often divided opinion during his time in the Premier League. On Wednesday, he left no room for debate.
The German inspired the Gunners to a third consecutive Premier League win as it thrashed Huddersfield 5-0.
Alexander Lacazette opened the scoring after just three minutes, but sloppiness soon crept into Arsenal’s game and victory looked in doubt before Ozil took over.
In less than four second-half minutes, Ozil set up Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, before adding a fourth goal himself. But it wasn’t just Ozil’s attacking play that earned him the acclaim of the Emirates Stadium crowd.
“Everybody knows in the stadium that he’s a great football player,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “At the moment I think as well he shows that he can fight. I believe the majority of people here love him and have always loved him.”
After a chastening defeat at Manchester City in early November that left many supporters questioning the club’s ability to compete for a top-four Premier League finish — let alone the title — Arsenal has recovered in style.
Three consecutive wins for the first time this season, with no goals conceded, has lifted Arsenal to fourth in the table and a four-point deficit to rival Tottenham has been reversed.
The Gunners looked set for an easy night’s work when Lacazette finished coolly after being put through on goal by Aaron Ramsey’s delicate backheel, but as the first half went on Arsenal’s intensity dropped.
Huddersfield had a spate of chances to level either side of halftime, with Steve Mounie and Colin Quaner both forcing good saves from Petr Cech.
Arsenal’s play had improved after the break, but it wasn’t until Ozil’s masterclass that the home side took control.
After exchanging passes with both Sead Kolasinac and Sanchez, Ozil squared for Giroud to finish from close range in the 68th.
Another assist followed a minute later when Ozil was freed down the right flank and picked out Sanchez, who finished high into the net. Ozil wasn’t finished. He lifted the ball over Huddersfield ’keeper Jonas Lossl after being slipped through on goal by Ramsey.
“Five minutes were enough for him (Ozil) to show all his qualities,” Huddersfield manager David Wagner said. “Where we gave him too much space, too much time on the ball and then he has shown that he’s a top quality player.
Giroud, who came on at halftime after Lacazette had a groin injury, grabbed his second goal three minutes from the end after Kolasinac’s drove into the box.
Lacazette’s injury was the only bad news on the night for the hosts, with Wenger saying that the French striker “will certainly be out” of Saturday’s home game against Manchester United.
Since opening the season with two victories, Huddersfield has won just twice in its next 12 games and has dropped to 14th, five points clear of the relegation zone.