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Arsene Wenger and Arsenal owe Real Madrid one, according to Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has claimed that he expects the Gunners' cultured Frenchman to pay for his dinner next time he is town for ratifying the deal that saw German playmaker Mesut Ozil swap Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the Emirates Stadium.
Speaking to The Times, Carlo Ancelotti said: 'Arsenal are doing well, but we helped them of course. Wenger has to buy us dinner, as we gave them Ozil! It was my decision. When we bought Gareth Bale it was difficult to find space for him, and he needs to play.'
Ozil started his Arsenal career in tremendous fashion, however, his form has since waned somewhat. Wenger, though, has moved to reassure the club's fans that there is 'room for much improvement' in Ozil's game.
He is quoted by the club's official website to have said: 'He is a hugely talented player. He just arrived here three months ago and overall he did not have the best of preparations for the league. He is a young player, he is 25-years-old so of course there is a lot of room for improvement for him.
'We have plenty of players who can take the ball and play, and because he plays in the central part of the pitch the ball goes through him. But we don't put any special responsibility on him. Maybe he feels a bit more pressure to do that. But we just want the game to be played like we see it and we do not put any special responsibility on him. Everybody in our team can deliver great balls.'
Arsenal's star performer this season has been Aaron Ramsey, who has completed 86% of his 867 passes, has won 47 of his 57 tackles, created 15 chances, assisted four times and scored six times in 1,012 minutes of Premier League football to date.
Ramsey, though, cannot pinpoint the root of his sterling form but is not focused on the statistically evidence of his play: 'I'm just enjoying myself at the moment,' Arsenal.com quote him to have said. 'I'm feeling really confident and the team is confident as well so that helps when you're playing.
'I don't really need to take that much interest in the statistics as long as we're doing a good job and the team's playing well - I'm happy with that.'
Arsenal play Marseille on Tuesday, November 26 at the Emirates and may well welcome back key duo Mathieu Flamini into the shielding role ahead of the defence and opposition rearguard-stretching winger Theo Walcott. Marseille meanwhile may have to field a considerably weakened XI because of a succession of injuries to key personnel.
And finally, even though two of the Invincibles are training with the Gunners, neither Robert Pires or Thierry Henry are in line for a return to the Arsenal books…
image: © Ronnie Macdonald