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'The first time I've seen him smile in 18 months': Mesut Ozil hailed as Arteta's Arsenal beat Solksjaer's Manchester United

'The first time I've seen him smile in 18 months': Mesut Ozil hailed as Arteta's Arsenal beat Solksjaer's Manchester United
Mikel Arteta claimed his first win as Arsenal manager on Wednesday evening as his refocused Gunners breezed past Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United, heaping further pressure on the Old Trafford boss in the process.

First-half strikes from big-money import Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were enough to secure three points for an Arsenal team who very much needed a shot in the arm following the disastrous start to their campaign which cost former coach Unai Emery his job last month.

And, in this part of London, there are few things as fulfilling as a win against Manchester United.

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Solksjaer's team, still without the injured Paul Pogba who is again the focus of transfer rumors, were second best throughout and found themselves on the backfoot almost immediately when Pepe found the net on eight minutes. 

Greek international Sokratis doubled their advantage just before halftime, striking a loose ball into the roof of the net from inside the box and further demoralize a Manchester United team which has shown signs of life in recent weeks, losing just once in the previous nine fixtures.

The influence of new boss Arteta on the Arsenal performance was evident as there was a verve and work rate among the team which was largely absent for extended spells of the season thus far. Even Mesut Ozil, often a scapegoat for some of the Gunners' low-energy performances, was highlighted as being crucial to the win.

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Current feeling = 🙌 😄

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"Look at that from Ozil, I think that is the first time I’ve seen him smile in 18 months, and that’s because he must be enjoying training," former player Rio Ferdinand said on BT Sport.

"Arsenal showed a discipline we have not seen on a consistent basis and there is a structure which allows players to be confident. They were quicker and they were stronger."

Ferdinand, who was part of one of the most successful Manchester United teams in recent times, said that Arsenal showed far more effort and desire to win compared to their opponents.

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"Arsenal showed a discipline we have not seen on a consistent basis and there is a structure which allows players to be confident. They were quicker and they were stronger.

"When you don't believe in a manager that subconsciously takes the edge off a performance. There must have been conversations with individual players where Arteta has said 'You're my guy'."

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