Football

Mesut Ozil hails Arsenal for sticking to their guns at Old Trafford

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Football News
24/7

Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has pinpointed two things as being crucial to his side's success against Manchester United last night, the hunger of the Gunners stars to end their Old Trafford hoodoo and a pragmatic game plan implemented by Arsene Wenger which placed the emphasis on decisive counter-attacking.

The Gunners booked their place in next month's FA Cup semi-final with a 2-1 win in the North West, courtesy of goals from a pair of surprise starters in Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck.

Ozil believes a focus to working hard off the ball was a key factor in grinding out a massive result, a trait not normally associated with teams coached by Wenger.

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Ozil worked hard in big win

Arsenal's £42.4m man was interviewed by Goal.com after playing a part in arguably their biggest win of the season, one he clearly relished after being made aware of his side's horrendous record at the Theatre of Dreams.

Ozil said: "We weren't given much of a chance, if you believe the statistics of previous matches against United, but with a passionate team performance, we are now going to Wembley.

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Wenger developing pragmatic streak

"United offered us mistakes and we exploited them well. We concentrated on our work off the ball and followed the manager's gameplan.

"I look forward to the semi-finals at Wembley and, of course, [hope to] return there in May [for the final]."

There was a marked change in Ozil's demeanour when Arsenal didn't have the ball last night, working hard to retreat in an advanced central position which gave him room to roam.

Shades of Etihad win

Wenger has developed a long overdue pragmatic streak over the last three months, perhaps primarily due to a 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad that finally proved this current crop of Arsenal stars can deliver in big matches against the very best.

Last night's second success in Manchester this season had shades of that display, with Francis Coquelin tackling everything that moved in midfield and Santi Cazorla doing a tremendous job alongside him.

Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny also stepped up to be counted last night and so did Ozil, under a fortnight after a frankly pathetic display against Monaco in the Champions League.

Arsenal fans can certainly take huge positives from their response since that alarming night at the Emirates, their side have responded in style and despite critics still being commonplace Ozil is very much at the heart of that progression.

Arsenal fans, how pleasing was it to see Ozil working hard off the ball at Old Trafford last night? Does Wenger deserve credit for getting the better of Van Gaal in his own backyard? Let us know your thoughts on that morale-boosting win in the comment box below.

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