Football

This time, Wenger is serenaded after Gunners halt streak

Arsene Wenger was happy to hear his name chanted after Arsenal beat West Ham yesterday morning (Singapore time) for their first league win in almost two months.

Mesut Oezil spearheaded a morale-boosting 3-0 win for the Gunners, their first in the Premiership since Feb 11, with Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud also getting on the scoresheet to help Arsenal leapfrog Manchester United and move up to fifth.

Fan protests calling for Wenger to go had gathered pace in recent weeks and the night at The Emirates started with a section of the club's support staying away until the 13th minute - 13 signifying the number of years since the Gunners last won the league.

But it ended with fans staying behind to chant the Frenchman's name.

"I'm happy when people are happy," Wenger said.

"And when you're at the club for such a long time and you really care about people who care about the club, you know how sad they are when it doesn't go well.

"So I can take care of myself because I am used to dealing with difficult periods but you want people who love the club to be happy, so I'm happy."

Wenger believes Oezil has mentally recovered from Arsenal's damaging Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.

The Germany international had been subjected to heavy criticism from fans and earlier in the week, captain Per Mertesacker mistakenly made a donation to a "Mesut Oezil missing persons fund" while signing autographs.

With Oezil's future yet to be decided, Wenger believes the German was mentally affected by their last-16 exit at the hands of Bayern and deserves credit for responding to critics with his latest performance.

"I feel that he's back physically with focus," the Arsenal boss said.

"I know him quite well and I felt that he got hit hard from us going out of the Champions League and it took him some time to recover from that mentally.

"I feel for a few weeks now in training he's really focused again - and that comes out in the game." - PA SPORT

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