EPL: Outstanding Oezil

EPL: Outstanding Oezil
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil at the Emirates stadium in north London on September 22, 2013. Ozil had a hand in all three Arsenal goals as Arsene Wenger's side moved to the head of the Premier League table with a 3-1 victory over Stoke at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday

The run continues. Since losing to Aston Villa on an ill-tempered August afternoon, Arsenal have won seven consecutive games in all competitions.

Even their arch-nemeses Stoke City can't knock them off their stride and it wasn't for the lack of trying.

Mark Hughes' team allied their new-found passing game with their long-established and muchfeared physicality, but it soon became apparent that the Potters aren't the only team with new tricks.

In Mesut Oezil, Arsenal finally have a player who can be replied on to provide his teammates with a consistent supply line.

His free-kick in the fifth minute troubled Asmir Begovic so much that it was all he could do to palm it straight to a grateful Aaron Ramsey.

His corner before the break was flighted so perfectly that it was a simple task for Per Mertesacker to nod home, and another second-half free-kick was headed home by Bacary Sagna, just as Stoke were hauling their way back into the game.

Withdrawn with 10 minutes to go, Oezil was given a rapturous standing ovation. As home debuts go, this ranks rather highly.

Arsenal had been dealt an early blow when Theo Walcott was taken ill shortly before kick-off. His place in the team was taken by the highlyrated youngster Serge Gnabry.

Stoke are not the kind of opponents that a slight 18-year-old would choose for their ideal home debut and Gnabry was given a welcome to the Premier League that he is unlikely to forget.

One heavy challenge from Robert Huth threatened to shatter the young man into a thousand pieces.

He was, understandably, unable to live up to the hype, but there will be other times, and he will learn from this experience.

Arsenal have learned much since that openingday defeat, settling into their new shape quickly.

In the middle, Ramsey played a near-perfect game, tidying up and shifting the ball onwards with precision and intelligence.

Mathieu Flamini was less aesthetically pleasing, but equally effective.

In front of them, Jack Wilshere was given the chance to surge upfield with the ball with a drive that brought back memories of a young Paul Gascoigne.

Wilshere, however, has been targeted and his weaknesses have been identified.

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