The $61.3 million Turkish-origin German star Mesut Özil is now just four assists away from surpassing the Premier League record set in 2003. In addition to assisting in the Gunners' last minute 2-1 win over Leicester on Sunday, he also registered his 17th Premier League assist of the campaign, meaning he is now just four assists away from surpassing the Premier League record of 20, set by Thierry Henry, also at Arsenal, in 2002/03. He has also equaled Cesc Fabregas' record, with the Chelsea midfielder previously holding the second-most of the season. Arsenal took all three points when Danny Welbeck, on his first appearance since last April due to injury, headed the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time by glancing home a free-kick from Özil. London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur moved within two points of top spot with dramatic 2-1 wins over Premier League leaders Leicester City and Manchester City respectively as the top four clashed on Sunday.
The most open championship race for years saw the two London teams increase the pressure on Claudio Ranieri's Foxes, who are hanging on to first place with 53 points and 12 matches to play. "I think Özil had an outstanding first half. He has got the taste for scoring now. I have never seen Özil in the box so many times as in the last five or six games" said Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger. "Game changers" Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez will have to play pivotal roles if Arsenal are to end their 12-year wait for a Premier League title, midfielder Tomas Rosicky said.
"He (Özil) was out for some time (with injury) last season so he couldn't find his rhythm, but now, after playing since the start of the season, everyone here can see (how big a talent he is)," Rosicky told the club website. "Him and Alexis are the game changers. Both of them have the strength to win games, so it's vital for the team's title chances that they perform well."
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