Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke glowingly of Mesut Ozil’s defensive performance, after the German left an indelible mark on Saturday’s 2-0 win over Tottenham.
Ozil had a hand in goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez as Arsenal won their first north London derby in seven, but his incessant pressing also left Ben Davies and Jan Vertonghen largely neutered on Tottenham’s left-hand side.
The German’s work-rate regularly comes in for criticism and he has come under the microscope since entering the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium.
And, despite his contribution to the win in attack, Wenger was quick to highlight Ozil’s tenacious work going the other way.
“I am convinced that he had that side to his game and he can produce it,” Wenger told Sky Sports.
“That’s encouragement for him. When he went off, he got a standing ovation – not because he’s a great football player, everybody knows that, but because he added to the team that kind of defensive play that he’s not a specialist but can do.
“We didn’t lose defensive focus, for 90 minutes we had that consistency in our defensive focus and the team likes to go forward so we need to keep that concentration on the defensive job.”