Date: 30th August 2016 at 3:58am
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Manager Arsene Wenger was a happy man at the full time whistle in the weekend’s trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford.

With a loss and a draw so far in 2016/17, Arsenal picked up their first three points of the campaign with a three one victory over Walter Mazzarri’s side, and speaking to the Official Site in his post game press interviews, a number of players came in for praise given their individual performances on the day.

Ozil was the first and Wenger spoke about his pleasure at seeing him find the net in the game, as goals are a target this year for the player.

‘Especially in the first half he was very good. In the second half he dropped physically, but of course, we need him. I think what we`ve seen from him today is what we want from him, to give assists but he is going to score goals. So I am very happy that he scored today because that is what he is trying to add to his game.’

Centre half Rob Holding came in for praise again.

‘An outstanding performance. I`m happy that you noticed that, because it`s important that a player who comes from Bolton, comes to a club where he concedes four goals in the first game at home, he has to play under huge pressure at Leicester and today he performs the way he does. I think it`s not easy and it shows some great potential and I am convinced that he will give a fight to all the centre backs.’

The growing partnership between Xhaka and Cazorla alo featured in his thoughts, with Xhaka taking praise for how he’s settling in.

‘Xhaka has a good touch on the game. He is calm, his passing is effective, he has a left foot as well so he can find as well the opposite side sometimes. He`s good on the ball and he wants the ball and he`s shown physical strength in his locker and he`s adapted very quickly.’

He added about the player.

‘I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls, in midfield it is important for us to sometimes stretch the defenders. We have a game that is based on shorter passes than other teams so sometimes when you have a player who can kick the longer ball, it gives us a chance to get some oxygen and some space. He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball. He is a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football. He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs. He has a good engine, good stature, he is good in the air and has a good balance in his game, he has a good short ball and a good long ball. He is 24 years old, he has already experience abroad and that is always a problem and is more reassuring when a player has already played abroad somewhere. He was captain at his age at Monchengladbach, that is not a small club so he has leadership qualities.’

As for the game itself, and the first victory of the year, he went on to say.

‘I think overall the performance was a strong one. Very fluent and a massive first half. We were 3-0 up at half-time and in the second half we still created many chances but we missed something in the final ball, like we did at Leicester. We are not capable in the end to maintain completely for 90 minutes exactly the same intensity physically, but overall it`s a very encouraging performance and a good win.’

Adding that he was pleased with our solidity when Watford really stepped it up at the end of the game.

‘Watford went absolutely for it because we couldn`t score the fourth goal and because we dropped physically and I think that we win games here but they are physically very strong, very determined. For us it`s always a tricky game.’

One thing he was quick to point out was with the European Championships this summer, he felt that had hampered our start to the year, but he expected quick improvement.

‘We cannot maintain it completely physically yet for 90 minutes but overall I could see there was some potential in the team, some fluency. We created chances and there was great movement. Overall I am very pleased with our first-half performance. Defensively we had a good game as well and I believe when everybody is on board physically for 90 minutes, we have a strong team.’

There was also praise for Theo Walcott, with Wenger insisting fans would see a ‘different’ Walcott this year in terms of what he offers – especially when compared to the year he had last season.

‘I said before the season started that we will get a different Theo Walcott this year. If he can maintain that focus, that desire and that fighting attitude then he will have a great season. I hope he has no setback because he is an intelligent player, he is focused and has a great desire to prove his critics wrong and he`s on a good way. I am very pleased, I think we had an excellent first half at Watford.’

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