Ozil the difference to ease pressure on Wenger

Ozil the difference to ease pressure on Wenger

However, Ozil grabbed the headlines on Wednesday night after a sparkling display with the opening goal - his first in almost four months - in the 3-0 defeat of West Ham.

"I feel that he is back physically, with focus", Wenger said of Ozil at his post-match media conference. He was hit hard by us going out in Champions League. He has really been focused in training in last few weeks.

In comments made last month to Bild, the German newspaper, Özil suggested that he is unfairly criticised following Arsenal defeats, claiming: "When the team's on a bad run, somebody needs to be singled out, sadly most of the time it's me".

Germany World Cup victor Mertesacker, who was on the bench last night after a long injury lay-off, said in his notes in last night's match day programme: "As a squad we trust each other, but sometimes you might just miss a little something, individually or collectively".

The Gunners now sit in 5th place, four points behind Manchester City. Since then, however, it has been the Italian and his players who have pushed on and produced the sort of form and consistency that it takes to win the Premier League title.

"We are in the fight now".

'I love Mesut Ozil and I love his game as well, ' admitted Wenger afterwards.

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Ozil's opener was his first goal since December 10 and his all-round contribution was much improved.

Asked if the goal would help Ozil's confidence, Walcott replied: "I wouldn't just say the goals, you could see it was slowly starting to come today. Goals always breed confidence in players but Mesut is a fantastic player", Walcott told the Daily Star.

The result which was West Ham's fifth loss in a row, also deepened the relegation fears circling Slaven Bilic's side as they are just five points clear of third from bottom Swansea who play them at the weekend.

"We did that against West Ham, we did a very professional performance, it was a more improved performance than the draw with City, there was a lot of passion in that game, in this one we were very professional and that is very pleasing". "It's true. If we are looking at the whole picture, it is. But they started to play with more freedom after scoring".

The Hammers' only two shots on target - from Manuel Lanzini and Edimilson Fernandes - came after the game had already gone.

Arsene Wenger's men hold at least one game in hand on all of the teams above them and Walcott is hopeful they are back in the Champions League hunt.

The home side continued pressing when the second half got underway.