The Independent London Newspaper
25th June 2018

Wenger pays tribute to Mesut magic as Arsenal reach knockout stage

    Arsene Wenger

    Arsene Wenger: 'You know, I would say the great players make the right decisions in the game situations they face'

    Published: November 2, 2016

    Champions League

    ARSENE Wenger admitted match-winner Mesut Ozil proved him wrong when he scored a sensational deciding goal against Ludogorets Razgrad last night (Tuesday).

    The Gunners came from 2-0 down to beat the Bulgarians and reach the Champions League knockout stages for the 17th consecutive time.

    The pick of the goals saw Ozil, who scored his first ever professional hat-trick in the reverse fixture, run through on goal, chip the goalkeeper and cut inside two defenders before slotting in from close range for a dramatic winner.

    Afterwards Wenger admitted he wouldn't have been so composed in front of goal.

    “You know, I would say the great players make the right decisions in the game situations they face,” he said.

    “They always make the optimal solution. To me it didn’t look for a while like the optimal solution, but when the ball was in the net I thought it was! You wanted him to take maybe his chance earlier but at the end he had enough skill to prove that he was right.”

    It looked like an upset was on the cards when goals from Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru put Ludogorets 2-0 up after only 15 minutes. Ozil sparked the comeback when he pulled the ball back for Granit Xhaka to coolly reduce the deficit. Olivier Giroud then expertly headed in Aaron Ramsey's clipped cross to equalise minutes before the break.

    The second half could have been anyone's game, with Arsenal dominating the possession, but Ludogorets looking dangerous on the break. With just two minutes left on the clock, Ozil broke free to score his stunning winner, stretching the Gunners' unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions.

    Embed from Getty Images


    Reflecting on the spirit shown to come from 2-0 down, Wenger added: “I give credit to the team spirit because it’s linked with their belief. When you have positive results it shows a healthy mentality in the group together, and that comes out in these kind of games.

    “We were caught cold and were 2-0 down, and after that I felt we didn’t panic, we kept our composure and came slowly back.” 

    ARSENAL: Ospina, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Xhaka (Elneny, 87), Ramsey (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 75), Ozil, Sanchez (Iwobi, 90), Giroud.
    Substitutes not used: Cech, Gabriel, Holding, Maitland-Niles




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