Manager Jose Mourinho believes it will be “impossible” for his Chelsea side to keep Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil quiet for the entirety of today’s top-of-the-table clash at the Emirates Stadium.
Ozil’s seamless arrival in the English Premier League from Real Madrid, where he played under Mourinho, has “completed the puzzle” for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, the Portuguese believes, firmly establishing the Gunners as title contenders.
Mourinho said: “He arrived, Arsene gave him the shirt, immediately he starts playing and immediately the team becomes better.
“He’s a phenomenal player. He’s one of those players that you buy and you complete the puzzle of your team.”
It was Mourinho who signed Ozil for Real — from Werder Bremen after impressing at the 2010 World Cup — and the Chelsea boss suggested the Germany forward has no faults in his game.
Mourinho said: “I know his strong points. Not the weaknesses. I think I know how to try to stop him to be in the game (for) 90 minutes, with 90 minutes of direct influence.
“But it’s impossible to stop him for 90 minutes, because these kind of players they will have always a moment or a couple of moments where you cannot stop them and they end up showing why they are so good. To stop him completely, I don’t believe we can.”
Wenger has long been under pressure to recruit world-renowned players after eight years without a trophy.
After years of biding his time in the transfer market as Arsenal’s rivals spent huge sums and sticking by his young players full of potential, Wenger struck impressively and has been rewarded as Arsenal responded from the opening-day loss to Aston Villa to lead the standings.
Asked whether he was surprised Wenger spent such a figure on one player, Mourinho said: “It’s improved his team. There are many ways to improve your team. One of the ways is to work young people and give them time to grow up and to improve.
“Another way is to go directly to the market and buy an end product in the top moment of their careers. They had the chance to do it with Mesut and they did it very well.”
Arsenal will aim to respond from a 6-3 loss at Manchester City, a result which has led some to suggest their title challenge will soon fade. Mourinho is not someone who shares that view.
He added: “Until now they are the strongest team. They have more points than anybody else and they’ve played already Liverpool, Tottenham, City and United.
“The Chelsea match will be the last match for them against the other five contenders. And they are top of the league, so no doubts about it.”