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Mesut Ozil inspires Arsenal to first victory

By Tom Allnut

Published 17/08/2015

Don't look now: The unfortunate Damien Delaney turns the ball into his own net for what proved to be Arsenal’s winning goal
Don't look now: The unfortunate Damien Delaney turns the ball into his own net for what proved to be Arsenal’s winning goal

Arsene Wenger hailed a superb display from Mesut Ozil in Arsenal's 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Crystal Palace and believes the win can be a turning point in the Gunners' season.

Olivier Giroud's stunning volley and a Damien Delaney own goal ensured Arsenal bounced back from their opening-day defeat to West Ham and registered their first three points of the campaign at Selhurst Park.

Giroud's strike was the most eye-catching moment in the match but it was Ozil who was the stand-out player, dictating the visitors' attacks with a number of exquisite passes.

"It is a pleasure to watch the quality of his passing and the intelligence of his passing," Wenger said.

"What I want from him is a few more goals this season. For the rest of the build-up in the game he was magnificent.

"He works harder than people think he does.

"He is not spectacular in his defending, but he wants to do the job, he wants to help the team.

"What I liked in his game was he made many runs without the ball behind the defenders which is a bit new as he likes to come with the ball but he mixed up his game better."

Arsenal have not lost to Palace since October 1994 but Alan Pardew's side offered a stern test and looked capable of earning a point when Joel Ward drove home an equaliser just before the half-hour mark.

"This is a difficult place for everybody to come and to win," Wenger said.

"I'm sure they will beat many strong teams here and to get the three is already a little bit of a turning point in the Premier League for us. To lose today would have been a big blow mentally."

Wenger added: "We have shown our strong response and we have shown different aspects in our game that are vital in the Premier League."

Arsenal were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men after Francis Coquelin twice managed to avoid being given a second yellow card from referee Lee Mason.

Coquelin could have been sent off when he pushed Wilfried Zaha to the ground at the end of the first half and he avoided a second yellow again for a clumsy challenge on James McArthur in the second period.

Wenger eventually substituted the midfielder but the Frenchman insists Mason made the right decision not to send his player off.

"He didn't deserve a (second) yellow card. The pressure was on to get him sent off," Wenger said.

"He put his hands on his head because he thought it was not a free-kick, not because he thought he would be sent off.

"Every time he intervened, the crowd were behind it and put the pressure on the referee.

"I felt that it was 60 minutes played, I didn't want to take him off but I didn't have much room."

Belfast Telegraph

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