FIVE STAR PERFORMER! Ozil Sparks To Life Ahead Of North London Derby [OPEN]

Mesut Ozil

Ozil, 30, has become somewhat of a peripheral figure at the Emirates under Unai Emery this season, making just 14 league starts and often left out of the side because of concerns from the Spaniard about his form or fitness.

The German was restored to the starting line-up against Bate Borisov in the Europa League last week and made a decent impression when he came on as a substitute against Southampton on Sunday.

That led to Emery giving another opportunity to the club’s star name, and highest-paid player, against Bournemouth – and Ozil repaid him with a classy performance in what was only his second start of the year in the Premier League.

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The former Real Madrid midfielder lined up in a central attacking midfield role, alongside Mkhitaryan and behind Aubameyang, linking up to both players with good effect.

Arsenal made the perfect start when Ozil opened the scoring after four minutes with a lofted left-foot finish which Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc could not prevent looping in.

And then he showed outstanding awareness to unselfishly square for the in-form Mkhitaryan, who pounced on a sloppy cross-field pass from Bournemouth full-back Adam Smith before playing a one-two with Ozil, to slot in.

Ozil continued to make Arsenal tick throughout and was unlucky not to add another goal himself – when Arsenal led 3-1 – with a low side-footed effort which cannoned back off the post.

“Mesut helped us with his quality and work,” Emery said afterwards. “All the players should be proud tonight and it is the same for Mesut.”

Ozil’s goal was his first since netting in a sublime individual performance against Leicester back in October, before he teed up Mkhitaryan for a first assist in nine league matches.

Whether that was enough to maintain his place against Spurs remains to be seen, but he certainly could not have done more to impress Emery – albeit against a poor Bournemouth side.

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