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Wenger Explains Wilshere Omission, Praises Ozil & Flamini
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has explained his decision to leave Jack Wilshere out of last nights win over Napoli and he took time to praise the impact Mesut Ozil and Mathieu Flamini have had on the team since their arrival in the summer.
Some Arsenal fans raised an eyebrow or two when the team sheets were announced last night and they saw that Wilshere had been left out with Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta both recalled to the starting line-up.
As it turns out, we didn’t miss him as we tore Napoli apart in the opening half hour thanks to goals from Ozil and Giroud.
After the game, Wenger was asked about his decision to drop Wilshere and he revealed that it was a last minute call and he decided to give him a rest due to the number of games the youngster has played recently.
Wenger told Arsenal.com:
on leaving out Jack Wilshere…
Of course it was difficult. But I do not want to overload him. He comes back for a long time, he has given a lot on Saturday, and I decided that [to leave him out] very late today. With him I am a little bit more cautious than I was before.
It makes sense to be more cautious with Jack after the two years of injury problems he’s suffered. With Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky fit again, we can start to rotate a bit more and keep people fresh and last night it was Wilshere’s turn.
Arsene also highlighted this point and says he opted to go with Arteta alongside Flamini as the Frenchman “had a job to do on Hamsik” – a job that Wenger feels Flamini did very well and he praised the experienced midfielder for the balance he gives to our side at the moment.
While the whole team played well last night, the stand out player was Mesut Ozil and Wenger couldn’t hide his delight at how the German has settled since making a £42.5m move from Madrid on deadline day. He continued:
on Arteta’s return giving him options…
Of course. You cannot play with 11 players with all the games we have in front of us. It is important that I rotate without losing the balance of the team. When Cazorla comes back, Podolski, Chamberlain, we have of course options in midfield. Tonight I played Flamini and Arteta because Flamini had a job to do on Hamsik a lot, and he did that very well. Napoli are very dangerous going forward on counter-attacking, and I felt we stopped them very well from doing that.
on Flamini’s influence…
You don’t want to compare [with Ozil] but he gives us a balance in the team and he gives qualities to the team that are needed, that is for sure.
on what Ozil has added…
I think he is like the team. He had an outstanding first half where you had everything you want to see from a great player – individual skill, team play, finishing, final ball… just sit there and enjoy it. I loved him as well in Madrid, I thought he was great in Madrid, and we are just lucky to have got him. I believe as well that he enjoys playing football and you could see that. He enjoys to play with his partners, he has integrated very quickly into the team, with the mentality. He came as well in a period where we are doing well and that maybe made it easier.
on Ozil lifting the Club…
At the moment, yes. You know, we got so much stick at the start of the season that I am a bit cautious! So at the moment… of course he gave a lift to everybody around the Club, and belief as well. Belief is part of success in football as well.
There is certainly something a little bit special about this current squad and a 10-game winning streak hasn’t been achieved since the invincibles. I still think we’re a couple of players short of reaching those heights but we look a completely different side to the one that was struggling just 12 months ago and the future is looking extremely promising right now.