Arsenal's Ozil, Welbeck respond strongly to critics

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2014-9-22 23:03:01

As if in response to last week's Extra Time column, Arsenal finally got the emphatic victory Saturday that it had been lacking this season with a superb 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

And as if in response to all their critics in the English media, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck both scored and assisted in each other's goals to show they have what it takes.

Earlier in the week, Arsenal had a rough time as they went to Germany and were beaten by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. While the 2-0 margin seemed respectable, they were decisively outplayed, with Ozil coming in for some harsh criticism.

The German playmaker has had a few underwhelming performances this season as well as the second half of last season, and having come to Arsenal from Real Madrid for 42.5 million pounds ($69.5 million) in 2013, much more is expected of him. Ozil is highly talented, played well at Real Madrid and has been a mainstay of the German national team since 2010, so he will build on the form he showed Saturday.

It helped that Ozil played in the middle in the Villa game, which he has said is his favorite position, as opposed to on the wings. His coach Arsene Wenger has said that he has several players who also like playing in the center, which is true, so Ozil's position is under threat.

Welbeck has not been so loudly criticized, having only arrived at the beginning of the season from Manchester United. However he has been singled out for his not-so-impressive scoring rate. His performances up until the Villa game for Arsenal reflected his time at United - lots of energetic hustle and play, but little to show for it in terms of goals. He finally got off the mark against Villa and he deserved it, having put in good effort as usual. As Welbeck becomes more familiar with his new teammates, Saturday's performance should be the norm.

Meanwhile, the Asian Games started last week. China are expected to dominate, except for soccer, which is played by under-23 teams.

The Chinese men's team crashed to a 3-0 defeat against North Korea, showing they can be every bit as abysmal as the senior men's squad. However, the women drew 0-0 with Japan - a power in women's soccer. The Chinese women won their next two games and advanced to the quarters.

The contrast between the Chinese men's and women's teams is staggering, but at least the latter show that China is not doomed in soccer.

The author is an editor with the Global Times.

Posted in: Extra Time

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