PREMIER LEAGUE

Mikel Arteta is restoring Arsenal's values, says Mesut Özil

Gunners midfielder Mesut Özil admits being a little surprised when Mikel Arteta left his assistant post at Manchester City to take the Arsenal job.

Ozil surprised by Arteta appointment at Arsenal

Mesut Özil has admitted that he was a bit surprised to see Mikel Arteta take the reins at Arsenal, but praised the Basque coach for restoring the club's values. Arteta was appointed in December last year and has overseen two wins in his four games in charge ahead of Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.

Arsenal players respect Arteta

"I was a bit surprised but on the other hand, time flies quite quickly - I remember when he went to work with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, it was quite obvious then he would go on to become a manager very soon," Özil said. "I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here. We have a normal relationship. We were team-mates. We respected each other a lot and he was already a team captain at the time so in general players respected him and now he has just continued building up on that. As a playmaker, I need a lot of space. His playing style allows me to get that space and it is so important to be successful."

Arsenal are halfway down the Premier League table in 10th and and trail fourth-placed Chelsea by nine points. Özil praised Arteta for trying to bring back Arsenal's old approach and said it had created a happier squad, who are coming off wins over Manchester United and Leeds United.

Returning to Arsenal's core values

"It is basically getting us back to the old Arsenal virtues. Having the possession, being in control of the game, having the ball all the time," Özil continued. "These are the things that he is working on with us and you can see it – everyone is smiling, laughing, enjoying their time at the moment and this has made us be successful now. We are really enjoying everything at the moment. You can see we have a structure on the pitch now. Everyone knows what their job is on the pitch and we are very happy to have won these two games."