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Saturday 23 August 2014

Ozil plays down title talk

Published 09/10/2013 | 17:51

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Mesut Ozil thinks it is premature to suggest that Arsenal will win the Premier League this season

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil maintains it is "too early" to talk up a challenge for the Barclays Premier League, but maintains the players are determined to only get better this season.

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The Gunners headed into the international break top of the table, ahead of Liverpool on goals scored, following a 1-1 draw at West Brom.

Following a superb response to defeat at home by Aston Villa on the opening day of the new campaign and the club-record £43million signing of German playmaker Ozil from Real Madrid, hopes are high that 2014 could finally see an end to the best part of a decade without a trophy for Arsene Wenger's men.

Ozil, though, accepts there is still a long way to go before anyone should allow themselves to dream of a first championship since 'the invincibles' of 2003/2004.

Speaking to the German Football Association website, Ozil said: "I am delighted we top the table, but we also know that the season is still very long. To talk about winning the league (now) would be too early. The current table is nothing more than a snapshot.

"We will continue to play every game with our full concentration, we will try to get better as a team. If we can do that, we have a great chance to achieve a lot."

Ozil added: "For me the Premier League is the strongest league in the world.

"Every match is a challenge and the games are very intense. I believe, I can profit from that."

Ozil has certainly settled quickly since his deadline day arrival from Madrid, helped by fellow Germans Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Serge Gnarby already accustomed to London life.

The 24-year-old, who scored his first Arsenal goal in the Champions League win over Napoli, may have been grabbing all of the headlines, but insists he will have no problem to keep himself grounded.

"In football, I feel generally very little pressure. I am doing what I enjoy most and what I do best. I love my work, so I just look forward to every game and do not concern myself so much with what others say or write," Ozil added.

"The pressure that I have is mainly from myself because I expect a high level of me, but I can handle this pressure very well."

One Arsenal player never afraid of a bit of hype is Nicklas Bendtner.

However, the 25-year-old Denmark forward, farmed out on loan to Juventus last season, maintains he is now very much focused on delivering consistent performances having been handed another chance by Wenger, who blocked a move away during the summer transfer window.

"First of all I had a baby, which changed me a lot," Bendtner told Arsenal Player. "I think a lot of people say that you have babies and they change you and stuff but for me I could really feel a big difference to my life.

"Being abroad showed me a lot of different things and different aspects of how to live and how to cope with problems. That has given me a lot more as a man for now.

A couple of seasons ago, Bendtner was only to happy to revel in his self-appointed label as "one of the best strikers in the world".

Now, though, the striker has no intentions of letting anything other than his football on the pitch do the talking.

Bendtner continued: "If people don't like me, that's fair enough. If people can't accept that sometimes you're young and make mistakes and move on, that's not up to me.

"I try to do my best and that's basically all I can do for my family and my friends and everyone around the club.

"I think every football player wants to achieve the [most] within what he can do. That's what makes you. If you have a dream and try to do everything you can to be the best that you can, that's you trying to make the best out of your job or what you do.

"I basically said that I think that anybody who plays football in the world would love to be the best. I think that's a normal statement and that got [changed] to me saying that I was the best player in the world.

"I don't know where that came from. I still listen to it now and again and still see it. If people want to believe that, then that's that."

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