Arsene Wenger praised Mesut Özil's "fight" as well as his skill as a "great football player" after the German's impressive all-round display in a 5-0 thrashing of Premier League new boys Huddersfield Town. The Gunners' seventh win out of seven at home in the league this season was confirmed thanks to an excellent second-half display from Özil who contributed two assists and a goal in the space of four minutes at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday. Özil, told he will be staying with Arsenal come the January transfer window amid reports of interest from Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United for the playmaker who is out of contract at the end of the season, set up Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez before scoring himself. Giroud also added a late fifth goal, his second. Veteran manager Wenger believes Özil's recent improvement has been down to the 29-year-old's willingness to give his all, as he proved in a 2-0 north London derby win over bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month.
"Özil is fit and has added something people wanted to see - against Spurs and that he can fight and win the ball back," said Wenger. "He knows he is a great football player and he shows he can fight.
"Our job is to encourage people to fight," the Frenchman added. "He always covered the distances in games and is at an age where he is mature.
"I don't know if he takes it (criticism) personally. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and judgements are sometimes harsh. The majority of people here love him.
"If you look at the percentage of possession he always wants the ball, he never hides and is always available."
Huddersfield manager David Wagner, who made six changes to his starting XI, insisted his side had kept Özil quiet for the majority of the match. "We wanted to defend Özil as a group and we did this for 70 minutes well," said Wagner. "Then he showed all his qualities and we gave him too much time on the ball. He was as quiet as you can keep him before.