Mesut Ozil gave Arsenal fans a glimpse of his creative talents in a comfortable 3-1 Premier League win at Sunderland, but Manchester City’s glittering frontline misfired in a goalless stalemate at Stoke City on Saturday.
Arsenal threw £42 million signing Ozil into the fray for his debut in the north east and he set up the opener for Olivier Giroud before Aaron Ramsey continued his excellent form by scoring twice in the second half.
It was a contrasting experience for City who handed a debut to close-season signing Stevan Jovetic and paired him in attack with another big-money striker Alvaro Negredo, but they could not find a way past a battling Stoke.
United made to work
Champions Manchester United earlier laboured to a 2-0 win over 10-man Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice as they beat Norwich City by the same scoreline.
Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa scored one and created another in a 2-1 win at Aston Villa. Hull City against Cardiff City and Fulham against West Bromwich Albion both ended 1-1.
With Chelsea playing Everton later on Saturday, Arsenal go top with nine points, ahead of Tottenham and Liverpool on goal difference. Manchester City and United are fourth and fifth respectively on seven.
Ozil arrived at Arsenal on transfer deadline day from Real Madrid with a reputation for unpicking defences and represented a bold move for the north London club’s naturally cautious manager Arsene Wenger.
He made his mark after just 11 minutes, killing a long ball forward with a wonderful touch before squaring for Giroud who netted with a composed finish for his fourth of the season.
Arsenal were pegged back when Craig Gardner scored from the penalty spot three minutes into the second half and the hosts had the ball in the net again from Jozy Altidore but it was ruled out for an earlier foul.
The visitors’ jitters were swept away as Ramsey ensured the early-season criticism that came Wenger’s way following their opening day defeat to Aston Villa was a distant memory.
“Considering that he was sick and did not practice yesterday, his first half was outstanding, in the second half his level dropped a bit, but overall he was great,” Wenger said on Sky Sports about his record signing.
Another playmaker who made a splash was Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, who also marked his debut with an assist, setting up Sigurdsson’s opener.