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Monday September 23, 2013 MYT 4:17:01 AM
Monday September 23, 2013 MYT 4:17:26 AM
by martyn herman
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks at his team play Stoke City during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium, London, England September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett
LONDON (Reuters) - Mesut Ozil's three assists in table-topping Arsenal's 3-1 victory over Stoke City were merely a sign of things to come, manager Arsene Wenger said on Sunday.
Wenger has already compared the club's record 42 million pounds signing to former favourite Dennis Bergkamp in his ability to influence games.
"I believe that once he is completely integrated we'll see even more of him but he has shown today that he is a great player," Wenger said of the German playmaker who left the field to a standing ovation after being substituted near the end of his home debut.
"You could see today he has a good pace as well. At the moment he focuses a lot on his passing but he can create individually as well.
"When you look at his numbers, the assists are not a coincidence, it's just the reality of his game."
Arsenal's ability to challenge for the title will hinge on Ozil's impact and his three games so far augur well.
"He is a similar type (to Bergkamp)," Wenger said in the Sunday Telegraph in the build-up to the game.
"I think Ozil, at the start, has more a midfielder's mentality. But he can score, yes.
Ozil's status as Arsenal's playmaker behind striker Olivier Giroud will also help lift some of the weight off Jack Wilshere's shoulders with Wenger saying the England midfielder was exhausted in the Stoke game.
"Jack played now five games. Normally I should have rested him today but he did fight very hard and he was a bit exhausted in the end and that's why I decided to take him off," Wenger said. "Certainly I will not play Jack on Wednesday (in the League Cup).
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