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Ozil surprised by Arteta arrival but welcomes new boss trying to bring ‘the old Arsenal’ back

17:20 SAST 2020/01/10
Mesut Ozil/Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20
The World Cup-winning playmaker has enjoyed a welcome return to form under a Spaniard that he once played alongside in the Gunners midfield

Mesut Ozil admits to being “a bit surprised” to see Mikel Arteta back at Arsenal, but has welcomed the appointment of a former team-mate as the club’s new boss.

Having opted to part with Unai Emery in November, the Gunners have turned to another Spaniard for inspiration.

Arteta, in what is the first managerial post of his coaching career, is considered to have taken on a sizeable rebuilding project at the Emirates Stadium.

He has offered early encouragement, though, with a welcome return to form for Ozil considered to be one of his notable successes.

A World Cup-winning playmaker is pleased to have a familiar face back alongside him, saying in the Evening Standard of Arteta’s influence: “It is basically getting us back to the old Arsenal virtues. Having the possession, being in control of the game, having the ball all the time.

“These are the things that he is working on with us and you can see it – everyone is smiling, laughing, enjoying their time at the moment and this has made us be successful now.

“We are really enjoying everything at the moment. You can see we have a structure on the pitch now. Everyone knows what their job is on the pitch and we are very happy to have won these two games [against Manchester United and Leeds].”

Ozil once played alongside Arteta in the Arsenal engine room and admits he did not expect to see the 37-year-old so soon after his retirement back in 2016.

The German star added: “Every manager is different and obviously I have had some world-class managers throughout my career.

“Mikel Arteta is different to the others but he is very focused on the ball and wants to make us very successful and I think he is the right man at this club.

“I was a bit surprised [Arteta was appointed at Arsenal] but on the other hand, time flies quite quickly and I remember when he went to work [as a coach] with Pep Guardiola at Man City, it was quite obvious he would become a manager soon. I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here.

“We have a normal relationship. We were team-mates. We respected each other a lot and he was already a team captain at the time so in general, players respected him and now he has just continued building up on that.

“As a playmaker, I need a lot of space. His playing style allows me to get that space and it is so important to be successful.”

Arsenal, who sit 10th in the Premier League table at present, will be back in action on Saturday when they take in a derby date with London neighbours Crystal Palace.