Wenger on why Ozil stayed on vs Bayern


Arsene Wenger has explained that he left Mesut Ozil on against Bayern Munich because of the German’s ability to carry the ball long distances.

Faced with having to sacrifice one of his players in light of Wojciech Szczesny’s first half red card the boss opted to stick with his summer signing, withdrawing Santi Cazorla instead. Given Ozil’s recent dip in form and the fact he’d missed an early penalty the decision has subsequently been put under the microscope.

Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Sunderland, Wenger reasoned: “The circumstances of the game were difficult. I left him on because he’s one of the few players who go from far, from distance when you’re down to ten men. [Travel] long ways with the ball and carry the ball into the opponents’ half.

“Of course when you look back at the game the penalty obviously had an influence on his performance.”

Admitting that his star man has yet to recover from the disappointment of having his spot-kick saved by Manuel Neuer, the boss was keen to put the incident into perspective joking that Dennis Bergkamp was another star who went on to achieve greatness at Highbury despite a high-profile miss of his own.

“Just 48 hours is a bit short to get over that [penalty miss], but it is part of this job to deal with disappointment and show that you can respond to it. He apologised after the game.

“I don’t think that people are not shocked by the fact he missed a penalty because Bayern missed one as well. He takes his penalties in an unusual way, so people are maybe a little bit less comprehensive. You have to accept it or not.

“Look, I believe that at the moment, we have to let him recover from that. I had examples before with people like Dennis Bergkamp who missed an important penalty in 1999 and refused to take any penalty again.

“Incidentally, he gets a statue tomorrow, so it doesn’t take a statue away from you. Some other people don’t mind and do it again. A penalty is part of how you feel, how much you want it.

“I wish that one day Ozil gets one outside the stadium one day as well and I will still be good enough to come and watch it [unveiling]. Ozil is a classy player and on a longer period, class tells always.”

Ozil is likely to play some part in tomorrow’s game although it wouldn’t be surprising if he starts on the bench. It’s pretty obvious he’s had a rough week and with fatigue also a factor he could probably do with a little breather.


  1. Podolski deserves an extended run in the team. He’s come through his injury and is a consistent scorer. Over reliance on Ozil has exhausted him to the point where it’s affecting his mental state of mind as well. Let Ozil rest for now, he’ll be back stronger from this weeks disappointments.

    Thumb up 123 Thumb down 2

  2. I personally think Ozil should start tomorrow. Sunderland, while improved under Poyet, are a team that we should beat at home and beat well and I think that there would be no better pick-me-up than for him to be involved in that. Also, there’s a fairly significant break after the Sunderland game so should have time for a rest then.

    Thumb up 40 Thumb down 5

  3. The best is yet to come from Ozil his talents are his vision and while Girouviduka likes to be a magnet for the ball he isn’t necessarily the best type of striker to get the best out of our Mega Ozil…when Rambo returns you will see the lift return to our Mesut! COYG
    We could always repurchase Eboue for his penalty skill and dancing moves!

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

    • I agree with Ozil-Giroud not really best type of partnership, Ozil needs somebody with a pace like Ox, Walcott, or just somebody who can make those runs.

      I don’t know why but i guess you’re making fun of Eboue. I believe he was the true Gunner, maybe not the best in defence, but very devoted to the club.

      Thumb up 49 Thumb down 0

  4. I like the comparison with Dennis more generally. I remember the early days when he signed, people banging on about ‘Berg – flop’ etc. Arsene is spot on : class is permanent, and will shine through. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we dont see it till the autumn though; the world cup is looming.

    Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0

  5. I wonder what those who are impatient with Ozil would’ve said after Bergkamp’s first 6 games. Ozil had a bad game, a terrible penalty and is slightly struggling in his first season in the Premiership. End of. A little patience needed by all. Don’t drop him for Sunderland, let him get back on the horse and lets see what his character is made of. I would put my house that there is no one who wants to prove this more than the Wizard himself.

    Thumb up 37 Thumb down 1

  6. Regarding Özil playing every game, I listened to a Swedish podcast from Aftonbladet who talked about this, and they speculated about the fact that he might have the same deal as Messi has in Barcelona, and that he is the one that wants to play in every game and doesn’t like being rested. Given that he left Real partly because he didn’t like the chances of getting sidelined or put on a wing because of Isco, I think it’s a speculation with some merit to it. Özil obviousily wants to be the part of the team that cannot be replaced and if you can’t be replaced, then you have to play every game.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

    • To be honest, Wenger doesn’t strike me as the kind of manager who lets any player, no matter quality, dictate who plays what or where. He’d never accept any kind of deal where a player gets to decide that. I think it’s simply a case of Wenger considering Ozil vital in the way we play football, at least offensively.

      That being said, Wenger is a very trusting manager, and has been known to use players who were carrying minor injuries simply because they were desperate to play. The classic example is Thierry Henry, who played dozens of matches for us with various minor injuries (ankle mostly), because he was so desperate to get on the pitch and always managed to convince Wenger that he was fit enough to play.

      Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  7. Is Bergkamp Arsenal’s most important ever signing? I’ve only been watching from late 80’s so hard to judge pre-prem (or should that be perm?) era but St Denis certainly was the catalyst for Wenger Theirry Bobby et al arriving…

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  8. Santi was very sad coming off against Bayern i could almost see him cry. It reminded me of Pires coming off in Champions Leauge final after Jens sending off. After all these years he gave to Arsenal, he was ruled out of playing the only Champions Leauge final he could ever play. That deep kind of sadness.

    Thumb up 50 Thumb down 0

    • I hope he gets to score the winner next season when we’ll have a striker and backup defenders to add to the class we already have.

      Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. He’s a hard player to leave out. I perfectly understand Wenger’s reasoning for leaving him on the pitch even when we were down to 10: He’s one of few players available that can create magic moments out of nothing. Yes, playing with 10 against Bayern is a tough task, but you still want someone like that on the pitch in case you get corners, free kicks or counter attacks.

    He probably could use a rest, but he’s more important to the way we play than many people seem to think. In our offensive build up, he’s practically all over the place, which makes us tick.

    We’ll see though. A goal would do him good at this point, as it would ease off the pressure on him quite a bit.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

    • I completely agree with you that Ozil is aplayer who can create magic from nothing, so he was worth keeping on the pitch. However, Santi is also such a player, and he’s the one who came off. He’s in better form than Ozil in recent weeks as well. I think that the main reason that Ozil stayed on instead of Cazorla was for the manager to show support to Ozil. It migt feel like punishment to Ozil if he was hauled off, and that would be damaging to his mental state for the future.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. It was hard for carzola to take, i expected him to stretch nervous bayer defense, rosicky,carzola,ozil combination was going to do the damage on bayern

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. He needs to rest and I hope AW will rest him for the Sunderland game. Play Cazorla behind the striker(Bendtner) with Podolski on the left and Gnabry right. AOC is due a rest too.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  12. Fatigue was not the reason..he played almost every game during his peak while at Bremen n Madrid..I love watching this wizard while at Bremen under Mr schaff..play together with the likes of mertesacker,naldo,Rosenberg..it’s like watching kagawa or sahin of Dortmund.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. I really get nervous and irritated by the negative comments directed at Ozil….
    We forget so easily that greatness is achieved over time…and Ozil’s greatness is undoubted. No one should ever ever even for a minute write him off…..he will make all of us proud one day..

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  14. It was nice to see ozils little turn in the box to get a penalty so early in the game, he does look tired here & their also i miss theo ox impressive

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Ozil needs a rest, and he will come back stronger for it.santi should have taken the penalty as he has scored a few goals lately and ozils form has dipped. Let the attacking players in form take the penalty in future. Red for life

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. I don’t think Özil looked particularly tiered on Wednesday night he just runs hard and fast when necessary and and doesn’t bother chasing lost causes like a headless chicken. He was third in the list of distance covered of all players on the pitch and I bet his yards were covered a decent pace and with intent, it just doesn’t look as impressive as someone like flamini who is constantly on the move.

    The only thing Özil is tiered of i the incessant bollox being spouted off about him

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  17. I don’t think Ozil has the mental strength to be a great.
    He just doesn’t have what Henry,Ronaldo,Rooney,Gerrard,Messi,Drogba have…unshakable mental toughness. He has a weaker psychological make up.
    It’s so obvious he has ‘given up’ in some games.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 30

  18. Ozil is a world class player. And he didn’t get to the very top by being mentally frail. I’m confident he’ll use all this criticism directed at him and become a better player.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Can we forgive and forget how many star players missed on penalties the late socrates bagio rooney vanpassy, please fellow fans lets forget the issue and move on ozil needs to forget it so please dont keep reminding him he is a class player ask the whole world.we still love Özil

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. So basically Wenger is telling Ozil to change his penalt approach. wouldn’t hurt to run like a mad man before hitting your spot kick if anything it confuses/terrifies the goalie

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  21. I believe Wenger verbatim about the reason for leaving him on. After going to 10 he was by far the most reliable outlet to relieve pressure, even if briefly just to get a moment of shape back. That’s why he was also on the receiving end of the most passes for the Gunners. It was his job. Considering the siege conditions I thought he done it.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. Funny how all the same people castigating Ozil are the sort that clamoured for Wenger to spend big money to save our woes. Instead now they are talking up Sanogo.

    A bit of sense please.

    Ozil is still providing plenty of movement and assists. The last thing he needs is the sort of atmosphere we get when he missed the penalty. It wasn’t the end of the world, Bayern missed theirs too.

    Instead of turning sullen, we should be pushing him to produce more to make amends for his miss.

    The best remedy for Ozil at the moment IMO is to play through the funk and try and regain some form. He is the sort of player it seems that sees the cup (much like most Arsenal fans) half empty.

    He needs to stay positive and attack the problem. Sitting out will not help.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Wenger made a huge mistake here and I’m surprised it’s not being made a big deal about.

    With 10 men, you have to bring on defenders and dig-in, there’s no hope in hell of winning that game. You don’t worry about “long distances” then, you simply take out your weakest defensive players and Ozil is one of them.

    In the second half, we should’ve made a full, focused effort of pulling off a Stoke rather than trying to nick a goal. It’s what any manager who can think on his feet would do, but Wenger again showed why he never has a Plan B. Even blogs pointed out on the site, WTF is Koscielny doing that up front? Who do we blame that on? Koscielny or the manager?

    Of course, we’re fielding Sanogo and Monreal in such a huge game, when those are the two areas we failed to strengthen even though everyone knew it was a problem. What do you expect?

    We’re basically on the same par as teams like Basel, Schalke etc. when they make the knockout stage, there’s no chance of winning, only participating. I suppose there is some joy in that but it’s getting old.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

    • It’s not a level playing field in terms of money ….yet Arsenal can and do beat the best teams in the world so I wouldn’t say there’s no chance of winning. When victory finally comes it will be all the more sweet. This team has style and strength enough to cause upsets. Would you really be that amazed if we won the league? If not, then why not the CL also.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Some of u who compare a mere mortal with God must be out of your minds.Even Bergkamp will be mortified to hear it. I’m a Bergkamp fan,but he wasn’t as good as Zidane.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  25. Adams was hounded with donkey chants.

    Henry was labelled ‘a waste of money and too lightweight for the PL’ in the press for months after his arrival.

    Bergkamp was a ‘flop’ they said after he failed to score for about ten games or so after he arrived.

    They’ve all got statues now (well DB will within an hour of this post)!

    Ozil is getting a bit of grief, but I’m sure he’ll make the retards eat their words (again).

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here