Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has launched an impassioned defence of under-fire midfielder Mesut Ozil, insisting that the German World Cup winner should not be used as a “scapegoat” for Arsenal’s 2-0 Champions League defeat away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.
“Why should he be a scapegoat? For what? We’ve lost one game since April 1. Let’s be realistic,” said Wenger, whose side travel to Aston Villa on Saturday. “We have come out of a very difficult preparation period with decisive games. We had very difficult games against Besiktas. I don’t know – a scapegoat for what?”
Wenger continued: “What is difficult to manage today is that everybody knows absolutely everything and everybody judges people definitely on one game. You have to accept that football is played by human beings who have ups and downs like you have in your life.
“You have plenty of tacticians in the world who have managed zero games. You have to accept their opinion – they might be right, they might be wrong as well. They have to accept that.
“We live in a world where everybody has an opinion and we have to live with that. At the end of the day, somebody always has to make a decision and that’s the guy who is responsible.”
Wenger called for Arsenal fans to get behind the German, who was signed from Real Madrid on deadline day in September 2013 for a club record £42 million.
“They should not be concerned and just support him. I understand that you want your best players always to make the difference in every single game but we all go through periods where we are a bit less good,” he said. “You help. A club is a union between players, supporters and directors. You have to be united and sometimes go through periods together where it goes a bit less well.”
The problem with Ozil is that if you take away his first 5-10 games with the Gunners last season, he has not played well for almost a year now. His best position appears to the No. 10 role, but as Wilshere showed last week, Wenger has lots of options there, including players who are playing better than Ozil.