Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Arsenal, Özil answes critics

Published:Sunday | September 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Arsenal's Mesut Özil (right) celebrates his goal against Aston Villa with (from left) Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck at Villa Park yesterday. - AP


Mesut Özil answered his critics to lift Arsenal out of a slump, while Liverpool slipped to a second successive English Premier League loss yesterday.

Özil, Arsenal's record US$70 million signing, ended an eight-match scoring drought stretching back into last season and also set up Danny Welbeck's first goal for the club in a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.

The playmaker's influential performance came after manager Arsenè Wenger said he should not be a "scapegoat" for a trio of domestic draws and Champions League loss.

The emphatic win ended Villa's unbeaten start to the season, a week after the team stunned Liverpool at Anfield.

West Ham inflicted Liverpool's third loss in five rounds, beating last season's runners-up 3-1.

There were late goals in three of Saturday's games. Under-pressure Newcastle manager Alan Pardew saw his side stage a late comeback to draw 2-2 with Hull. Queens Park Rangers twice came from behind to also draw 2-2 with Stoke, and Victor Wanyama's 80th-minute goal gave Southampton a 1-0 win at Swansea that moved the south-coast club to second place.

Villa started brightly against Arsenal, with American owner Randy Lerner at his first home game in almost two years, before collapsing and conceding three goals in four minutes.

Welbeck, who joined from Manchester United this month, teed up Özil to run through and roll past goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 32nd minute. Özil turned provider by crossing from the left flank, and Welbeck powered in the ball from close range. Villa's capitulation was capped by defender Aly Cissokho sliding in to turn a cross from Kieran Gibbs into his own net in the 36th.

At St James' Park, Newcastle fans displayed banners against manager Alan Pardew, with the team without a league win after five matches.

What will encourage Pardew, though, is Papiss Cissé making an instant impact on his return from knee surgery.

When Cissé went on in the 69th, Newcastle were 2-0 down to Hull after conceding from Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diame. The Senegal forward, who had been sidelined since April, scored after four minutes on the pitch, and stabbed in the equaliser in the 87th.