Arsene Wenger hailed the “exceptional” performance of German playmaker Mesut zil as he set up both the two goals that gave Arsenal a 2-1 win over Manchester City at the Emirates stadium on Monday night.

Arsenal came into Monday’s top of the table clash in the Barclays Premier League 1 point ahead of fellow title contenders Manchester City. The Citizens dominated possession in the first half but it was Arsene Wenger’s side that made the first breakthrough through Theo Walcott’s stunning effort from long range.

French striker Olivier Giroud doubled Arsenal’s lead on the stroke of half time after being fed in by Mesut zil. The Citizens started the second on a positive note but failed to penetrate Arsenal’s backline until Yaya Toure scored an incredible goal in the 82nd minute to half the deficit.

However, Arsenal hung on to win the match and moved to within 2 points of surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City.

Wenger hails “exceptional” zil

Speaking to the media after his side’s 2-1 win over Manchester City, Arsene Wenger praised the recent performances of German midfielder Mesut zil, whose 2 assists on the night took his tally to 15 for the season.

“At the end of the day you need one guy who gives the ball to one who scores the goal and in our team most of the time zil is this player,a said Wenger (as quoted by The Guardian). a I believe he has developed his physical attributes, his physical commitment, you see a desire to win. This kind of talent is exceptional and he realises he can help us in every game.a

a I dona t know what kind of statement it makes but for us it was a vital game, a game you come out very happy because it has shown the ingredients you need in big games; strong organisation, moments of brilliance, moments when you need to hang on.

a Ita s too early to say [we will] win the league but it strengthens our belief that we have a word to say. What is interesting is there is a real life, a real togetherness in this team.”

Pellegrini defends misfiring Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini defended the performance of Belgian recruit Kevin De Bruyne who’s near misses arguably cost City the match.

“I think that Kevin is an important striker, he normally finishes very well. If he scores, we are all applauding him,” said Pellegrini (via espnfc). “He took that decision, and I think more important than that was the mistake we made in the last seconds of the first half.”

“I think we didn’t deserve to lose I think we did better than Arsenal, we had more possession, more attempts, more shots at target,” he said. “Unfortunately we made an important mistake for their second goal.”

“I’m very happy with the character and personality of the team because we never give up. We demonstrated character by continuing to try and score when we were losing 2-0.”

Arsenal assert title credentials after impressive win over Manchester City

Arsene Wenger last lifted the much coveted Premier League trophy at the end of the 2003-04 season. 12 years on, Arsenal’s impressive start to the current Premier League campaign gives Arsene Wenger his best chance yet of repeating that feat.

With Mesut zil finally living up to his longstanding potential, Olivier Giroud finding his goal scoring touch and Alexis Sanchez on the verge of return from injury, Arsenal look poised to challenge for the title come the end of the season.