Wenger offers Ozil backing

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has defended attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil, claiming it’s wrong to use him as a ‘scapegoat’, Sky Sports reports.

Ozil has been by all accounts some way off his best so far this season, and was singled out for particular criticism following the Gunners’ 2-0 UEFA Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund this week.

But Wenger defended his player, and pointed to Arsenal’s excellent recent record, saying: “Why should [Ozil] be a scapegoat? For what? We’ve lost one game since April 1. Let’s be realistic.”

Ozil joined Arsenal from Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2013 for around £42 million, making him the London club’s record signing, and also the most expensive German player of all time. He made 40 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners last season, finding the net five times.

But despite the criticism, Wenger is keeping faith with his World Cup winning star, insisting that it is impossible to satisfy the critical media and public.

“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,” said Wenger.

“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.”

After brushing aside Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield, Arsenal started their Premier League campaign with a narrow victory over Crystal Palace, but have failed to win a domestic game since, posting Premier League draws with Everton, Leicester and City again.

Wenger insisted that his team are ready to put the disappointing European defeat behind them as they travel to face Aston Villa this weekend. “We have confidence in our strengths and we want to show that we can perform in the game that is important on Saturday,” he said.

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