Ozil's form is a Xmas gift for Wenger

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil (left) taking on Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot on Saturday. Ozil scored the only goal of the Premier League match to end the Gunners' sequence of three games without a win.
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil (left) taking on Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot on Saturday. Ozil scored the only goal of the Premier League match to end the Gunners' sequence of three games without a win.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's 1-0 Premier League victory over Newcastle will breed the confidence they need to cope with a hectic Christmas schedule.

After seeing his side end a three-match winless run thanks to Mesut Ozil's spectacular first-half goal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, the Gunners manager has no worries about a potential lack of stamina.

"You could see that we had played three games in six days and the third game is a bit more difficult physically.

"Nobody else had to play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, but I still think we had plenty of chances to score more goals," the 68-year-old Frenchman said.

"If you look historically, it happens every year that finishing is a bit cyclical. Sometimes you will score three or four, converting every chance, and sometimes you will have six or seven chances and score only one.

"I know that people are not happy with it, but it's part of the game and you need to live with it."

Ozil's current form had Wenger purring in admiration and more desperate than ever to ensure that the Germany international does not leave the club in next month's transfer window or at the end of the season when his contract expires.

"It was a superb finish. He can deliver that. It's important for him that he takes the risk to do what he did," Wenger said.

"Usually he is a guy who, 99 per cent of the time, in this position, he controls the ball and gives it to somebody else, so I'm pleased he took the gamble to finish and I'm happy as well that he scored a very important goal.

"I am confident that he will stay here, but what does that mean? I don't know."

With Newcastle slipping into the bottom three for the first time this season, manager Rafael Benitez has said the club will need to be active in the January transfer window.

"We need to be competitive like today and keep going," the Spaniard told the BBC.

"We are a young team. When you're not winning, you lose confidence. We have to keep working this way and try to get a result.

"In January, we'll try to bring in people. The fans know we need something in January that will help the current squad."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2017, with the headline 'Ozil's form is a Xmas gift for Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe