Arsenal boss Unai Emery has challenged Mesut Ozil to rediscover his best form on a sustained basis after seeing him fire the Gunners to Premier League victory at Newcastle.
Ozil’s 58th-minute strike ultimately secured back-to-back away wins in the league for the first time since the 2016-17 season after Granit Xhaka had opened the scoring, with substitute Ciaran Clark reducing the deficit in stoppage time.
Asked if Arsenal would benefit from the former Germany international’s decision to retire from international football, Emery said: “It’s a new way for him.
“We want his performance each training day and in each match and for him to give us his quality. I want also his best performance for us and he worked well at first and had a good match.
“For me, every player is the same. We want to give them confidence and also push them. Today, I am happy because I want every player to have chances to score and he scored today.
“He has to continue helping with his quality and working hard to continue with the performances we want from him.”
Newcastle had the better of the first half but could not test keeper Petr Cech often enough to get themselves in front, and they were made to pay within four minutes of the restart when Xhaka curled home a fine free-kick.
With half-time substitute Lucas Torreira pulling the strings, Ozil doubled their advantage as the Magpies wilted and it was not until a last-gasp barrage that Clark pulled one back.
Emery said: “In the first half, we couldn’t control the match like we wanted and we needed that control to impose our ideas, our possession and our positioning.
“We conceded a lot of chances to counter-attack in transition and a lot of chances from corners and possibilities to arrive into our box.
“In the second half, the balance on the pitch was better. The first goal gave us confidence to continue and improve in the match and the second finished the match.”