“We have played nine games, there is a long way to go, but let’s make sure that we can produce week in, week out. For me, that is the most important (thing).” That is something Ozil is doing, having grown into his role as Arsenal’s ‘number 10’ since joining from Real Madrid for £42.5million in September 2013. The German World Cup winner scored in the 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United and capped a fine display against Bayern with a goal in stoppage time. “Ozil is 27 now,” Wenger said. “It is the golden age of a football player, 27 to 31 or 32, the age when you know your job. “When you are under 25, you think you can last for ever. Once you get to 27 you realise it is time to capitalise on what you have learned and efficiency takes a little bit over the playing mood. “You realise suddenly that it is not only important to play, it is important to win as well.” Wenger added: “Mesut is focused on his job. Talent wise, I think deeply he is a very, very collective player. “He is a very respectful guy. If you tell him to do that, he will do it for you. “Mesut plays in the link between the low midfield and the striker, he is the vital part in that. “When he has the ball in the final part of the pitch, he has the most assists. “Sometimes I think he sacrifices himself for the team, and I think his talent is exceptional.” Arsenal last led the league heading into the weekend of February 8, 2014, before they were blown away 5-1 at Liverpool in a nightmare lunchtime encounter. Wenger, though, knows his players have come a long way since then – now more battle-hardened and driven on by the endless energy of Alexis Sanchez and tenacity of club-record signing Ozil, backed up by midfield enforcer Francis Coquelin. “We have strengthened our belief with our run last season, from January 1 – you could feel there was really a change in our stability,” said the Arsenal manager, whose side ended the league campaign well before winning a second successive FA Cup. “We have shown that we can handle the pressure. What is the most important for me is to continue to develop as a team, to feel that we grow in the quality of our game. “We have maybe a better discipline. People reproached us many times: ‘okay, Arsenal play football, but they are a bit fragile.’ Before, maybe, when we were not dominating completely the game, we were a bit insecure.” Wenger continued: “We are more mature, for sure. “Two years ago, we were a long time top of the league. After, we lost one or two players and we lost one or two big games, that was the killer for us. “I feel today we are better prepared. We know, as well, the competition will be long. Arsene Wenger is confident a more mature Arsenal side can now handle the pressure in the Barclays Premier League title race, led by Mesut Ozil in his “golden age”. The Gunners head into Saturday’s late kick off against Everton on the back of an impressive 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League. With leaders Manchester City taking on rivals United at Old Trafford on Sunday, Wenger’s side could move to the top of the table with victory over the Toffees. Press Association
AFTER attracting the country’s leading male and female badminton players, the Guyana Badminton Association last weekend completed the annual Mashramani Badminton tournament at the National Gymnasium.The tournament was played in two segments – Open for men and ladies and age group for juniors.The Open Ladies division was won by Priyanna Ramdhani, who beat Greer Jackson in the final.Jonathon Mangra won the Open Men’s singles after a win over Nicholas Ali.Kayla Jordon took top honours in the Under-11 Girls’ Singles, with Haily Choo-a-Fat placing second and Gianna Ramnarine third.Jonathan Debidin was the Under-11 Boys’ Singles champion, with Avinash Ramnarine taking the runner-up spot, and Jared Bird and Nikhil Sookraj sharing third.Lesha Singh took the Under-13 Girls’ Singles title from Sasha Singh, while third place was shared by Lathika Kandayel and Elese Sangster.Andrew Debidin was the top Under-13 Boys’ player, while Vikash Mootoo was second best and Matthew Beharry third.In the Under-15 Girls’ Singles, Crystal Permaul was the overall champion.The tournament was exclusively sponsored by the National Sports Commission (NSC).
The No. 3 University of Wisconsin volleyball team returns to action this weekend two wins away from earning a place in the NCAA Tournament semifinals.But standing in their way is a feisty Ohio State University team looking to continue their Cinderella story followed by a potential matchup with either No. 6 Stanford University or Florida State team on a Cinderella run of their own.In the round of 16 game Friday, UW takes on an opponent the Badgers are quite familiar with when they play fellow Big Ten member Ohio State. The two teams represent two of the six Big Ten teams left in the tournament.Volleyball: Badgers earn one more weekend to dance after two winsIn the opening weekend action of the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament, the No. 3 University of Wisconsin swept both their Read…The Buckeyes come into the match hot off their first two wins in the tourney, a 3-0 sweep over Missouri State University and a 3-2 upset over No. 14 Kansas State University.Ohio State will lean on junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer for their offensive production. Schirmer is coming off a performance in her team’s win over Kansas State in which she recorded 21 kills on 52 attempts. Schirmer will be on the receiving end of sets from sophomore setter Taylor Hughes. Taylor Sandbothe, the senior middle blocker and the sole all-conference team member from the Buckeyes, will set the defense up front.When the Buckeyes are attacking, the Badgers will continue to put their defense in the hands of libero Kelli Bates and middle blocker Haleigh Nelson, who have both been big reasons why the Badgers have yet to drop a set through the first two rounds. Senior Lauren Carlini will attempt to get her hitters going, including freshman outside Molly Haggerty.These two teams have met twice this season, the first of which was in Madison when Wisconsin won in three sets 25-16, 25-19, and 25-17. In the end, what undid the Buckeyes was their 25 unforced errors in comparison to eight from the Badgers.Volleyball: Freshman Molly Haggerty shines as Wisconsin rolls to hot startWhile pre-season All-American seniors Lauren Carlini and Haleigh Nelson are the cornerstone for the squad’s initial dominance, freshman Molly Haggerty Read…Similar to their first match, Wisconsin won their second head-to-head appearance when they swept Ohio State in Columbus 25-19, 26-24 and 25-22. The closer sets show the growth of Ohio State as a team, making for an intriguing Friday afternoon of volleyball this weekend at the UW Field House.The winner between Ohio State and Wisconsin will play again on Saturday against the winner of Florida State and Stanford. Florida State looks to continue their improbable post season after beating in-state rival No. 11 University of Florida, who knocked Wisconsin out of the 2015 tournament last year. Stanford, meanwhile, has yet to lose a set and will look to continue their post season as the favorites to upset Wisconsin and steal a NCAA Championship Semifinals appearance.