Arsene Wenger sends message to Arsenal fans about Mesut Ozil
Arsene Wenger insists that he has been delighted by Mesut Ozil's contributions for Arsenal this season
Arsene Wenger has insisted that Mesut Ozil works harder than most people realise and insists that he is happy with the German’s contribution at Arsenal this season.
The playmaker came in for some criticism for his below-par display as Arsenal slumped to a disappointing 2-1 loss to Manchester City in the Premier League last weekend.
Arsenal failed to click into gear in the second half as they were pegged back and beaten by Pep Guardiola’s men despite taking the lead thanks to Theo Walcott.
Ozil is sometimes criticised for a perceived lack of effort, but Wenger has insisted that he has no such concerns about the 28-year-old’s performances for Arsenal this season.
Speaking at his news conference ahead of Arsenal’s clash with West Brom on Boxing Day, Wenger said: “I don’t give him any leeway when the team doesn’t have possession. He has to do his job like everybody else and usually he does it well.
“His main strength is of course when we have the ball and he suffers more when we don’t have it. At City, he suffered more than others because we didn’t have enough of the ball. Unfortunately, if you want to have the ball, you have to win it back.
“He is a guy who works much harder than people think and his body language goes a bit against him sometimes. We are a team who win the ball back high up the pitch very well, which means he and Alexis do their part of the job very well.
“We had a deficit in winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch at Manchester City. When you do not win the ball back immediately, you suffer after because you have to win it back a little bit deeper. That’s certainly what people highlighted in our game.
“To be absolutely fair, I did not hear or listen to all of the criticism we got after the game. We have to accept that, we have to live with that. People analyse the game and have their opinions, and I think that’s normal.
“We have to respond. Mesut Ozil is an important player, a big player, and the big players always respond to criticism on the pitch.”
Arsenal head into their clash with the Baggies looking to get back to winning ways in the top flight after the disappointment of their back to back defeats by Everton and Manchester City.