Emery praises Ozil's leadership, vigour

Arsenal's Rob Holding (in red) handling the ball after a tussle in the box with Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi during Monday's Premier League game at the Emirates. Leicester were 1-0 up at that time but referee Chris Kavanagh did not give a penalty and Ar
Arsenal's Rob Holding (in red) handling the ball after a tussle in the box with Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi during Monday's Premier League game at the Emirates. Leicester were 1-0 up at that time but referee Chris Kavanagh did not give a penalty and Arsenal went on to win 3-1.PHOTO: REUTERS

German inspires victory as Arsenal win 10 straight; Puel upset penalty was not given

LONDON • For Unai Emery, the theme on Monday evening was the perfect 10.

It is now 10 victories in a row in all competitions for his energetically developing Arsenal - seven of them in the Premier League - and the manager owed it all to the maestro in the No. 10 shirt.

Mesut Ozil had one of those games in which everything came off for him and he was a joy to watch, scoring one goal and playing a central role in the other two - both scored by substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - as the Gunners ran out 3-1 winners over Leicester at the Emirates.

For the first time in his Arsenal career, Ozil wore the captain's armband and the responsibility inspired him, with the German receiving a stirring ovation after being withdrawn in the closing stages of the Premier League game.

He tweeted his delight afterwards at the Gunners' "sexy football" and while their second-half display blew the Foxes away, it was very much a tale of two halves, with Claude Puel's men unlucky to go into the break level.

Leicester had dominated most of the first-half proceedings, taking the lead through an own-goal from defender Hector Bellerin before Ozil's fine equaliser.

The biggest talking point of the opening 45 minutes was referee Chris Kavanagh's decision not to award a penalty after Arsenal defender Rob Holding's handball seconds after being booked.

Puel slammed Kavanagh, who had a clear view of the incident, for denying his side the opportunity to take a two-goal lead and also have a one-man advantage.

"For me, it was a penalty and a sending-off," said the Leicester manager. "At this moment, with our domination in the game, we could have continued our performance (in the second half), this great performance, 11 against 10."

The Frenchman did, however, see the funny side after Leicester forward Jamie Vardy suffered a stomach bug late on and could not return to the pitch, saying that the Englishman "could not digest the penalty decision".

Emery also admitted that the "first 30 minutes was a difficult period" but praised Ozil for inspiring his side to come back into the game, while making it clear that Arsenal had to take it one match at a time.

"We deserved to win today for everything in the 90 minutes," the Spaniard said. "From Mesut Ozil, it's a very good performance. He can play very much with this commitment, behaviour, also with his quality, (as) captain or not captain.

"The performance is together and also each player showed us their quality, their capacity, and we are also demanding a lot of quality from ourselves.

"Now, we are looking at teams like Liverpool, like Manchester City, like Chelsea in front. We need to think about the next (league) match against Crystal Palace on Sunday and the Europa League (game at Sporting Lisbon) is also very important on Thursday."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Emery praises Ozil's leadership, vigour'. Print Edition | Subscribe