Mikel Arteta believes an increase in maturity and responsibility underpinned Mesut Ozil’s excellent first half of the Premier League season.
The playmaker has thrilled fans with his displays in 2015/16, creating 16 goals in the league already - just four short of Thierry Henry’s all-time assist record with 19 matches to play.
Ozil was in majestic form against Bournemouth on Monday, making nine chances for his team-mates. Arteta feels that performance proved that the World Cup winner can “hold the pressure” of being Arsenal’s chief creator.
“One of the main highlights from Monday was watching Mesut Ozil perform brilliantly again,” Arteta told the official matchday programme. “He’s played to such a high standard this season.
“What I like most about Mesut is that he’s said to himself ‘I’m the man, I can hold the pressure and when the team needs me, I’m here to help us win the game’.
“You could see that against Bournemouth. He was ready to step up because the first 25 minutes were really tough. They played really well and we were under a bit of pressure. But then he got an assist with an excellent corner and he could have had another two or three with the quality of his passing.
“It’s no surprise to see Mesut playing so well. I think his confidence level is really high now. He’s really comfortable around the team and I think he’s become more mature as well.
“This is his third season here now and when you look at the stats around Europe, not just this season but in the last six to eight years, he’s the best.
“We have to make the most out of him. The players in attack know his ability, they have got to know him better and that can only be good for the team.”