Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has warned his side’s English Premier League title rivals the best is still to come from star midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Arsene Wenger’s side head to Cardiff on Saturday looking to extend their lead at the top before other title challengers play on Sunday.
A win would move the Gunners seven points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who face Hull 24 hours later, and Mertesacker is confident they will do that if Ozil is at his best.
After a brilliant start to life in England following his move from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day, Ozil missed a penalty in Tuesday’s Champions League win over Marseille, but rebounded to provide an assist for Jack Wilshere to score Arsenal’s second goal and Mertesacker believes Ozil will quickly silence any critics.
“Mesut has made good progress,” Mertesacker said. “He was always a threat against Marseille and he never gave up after the penalty that he missed.
“We are delighted with him, especially in the transition from defence to offence, when he is always a threat.
“He is in good form and I think we will see more.”
On Sunday, Liverpool visit the KC Stadium and Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson knows his team are under pressure to take advantage of a relatively easy run of fixtures.
After facing Hull, Brendan Rodgers’ team play Norwich and West Ham.
“We are second in the league and we have to make sure we continue in the way we have started the season,” Henderson said.
“We have had a couple of difficult away games. I think we’re doing okay but we can still improve and keep pushing on.”
Third-placed Chelsea, behind Liverpool on goals scored, host Southampton, with Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta admitting Jose Mourinho’s team need to bounce back from a lacklustre display in their midweek loss at Basel in the Champions League.
Free-scoring Manchester City will look to continue their goal spree when they meet Swansea at Eastlands.
Manuel Pellegrini’s fourth-placed team have scored 22 goals in their past four home matches, but French midfielder Samir Nasri has warned teammates to also focus on defence after a sloppy Champions League showing in a 4-2 win over Czech minnows Viktoria Plzen.
Also on Sunday, champions Manchester United travel to Tottenham for a clash between two teams who have under-performed this season.
United are seven points behind Arsenal after slipping up against a series of supposedly inferior opponents, including a 2-2 draw at Cardiff last weekend.
David Moyes’ men looked more like their dominant selves in a 5-0 rout of Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
Crystal Palace’s new manager Tony Pulis starts his reign with a crucial trip to fellow strugglers Norwich.
Aston Villa host Sunderland, Everton are home to Stoke, Newcastle await West Brom and Fulham are away to West Ham.