Belfast Telegraph

Wenger never lost faith in Ozil

Arsene Wenger insisted he never thought of resting Mesut Ozil after the German inspired Arsenal to victory at Aston Villa.

The World Cup winner scored his first goal of the season at Villa Park to spark a blitz which saw the Gunners net three times in just over three first-half minutes to seal a 3-0 victory.

Ozil set up Danny Welbeck for his first goal since his £16million move from Manchester United before Aly Cissokho's own goal sealed the win after just 36 minutes.

The ex-Real Madrid ace was heavily criticised after Arsenal's 2-0 Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

But Gunners boss Wenger wanted to show faith in his £42.5m record buy and did not consider benching him.

"Not really no," he said. "I have many offensive players and you look to find the right balance. I gave (Alexis) Sanchez a rest because he's played many games and we have many experienced players who are top quality.

"You have to show him the confidence is there and he showed he can respond when he was under scrutiny.

"It's always a sensitive point, you don't know how people respond to that."

Welbeck also opened his account for the season to leave Wenger delighted.

"It was a similar goal to the one he scored in Switzerland (for England), it comes from the left and he pushed it in because the timing of his run was good," he said.

"He had a very good performance, kept the ball well and had a good all-round game."

Villa were ravaged by a stomach bug which ruled out Darren Bent, Nathan Baker and Ashley Westwood.

Midfielder Westwood withdrew in the warm-up and Andreas Weimann was sick and substituted at half-time while Brad Guzan and Fabian Delph were also ill despite playing.

"We had so much bad luck this week," said boss Paul Lambert. "Before the game we lost Darren, Nathan and Westy and then Andi at half time. Fabian had a bug and Guzan too.

"I knew we weren't best prepared because of the virus going around. A lot of the staff are not feeling good.

"It's a tough game for us when everyone is 100 per cent fit but the lads were running on empty."

Ciaran Clark and Delph had both gone close during a fast start for Villa, who would have gone top of the Barclays Premier League with a win.

"If we had scored at the start it might have given us something to hang on to. The start we've had is great and there are a lot of positives at the moment," Lambert added, after their first league defeat of the season.

"We have 10 points from five games which is a good return."

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