Arsene Wenger says that Mesut Ozil’s last two Arsenal performances – in which he’s bagged three assists and a goal – have been helped by his fitness levels and a willingness to do some of the work people don’t usually associate with him.
As well as his attacking contribution, the German has been much more involved when we don’t have the ball, and that’s played a part in our previous two home wins over Sp*rs and the 5-0 demolition of Huddersfield last night.
The manager acknowledged that the 28 year old has answered some questions, but insisted that he’s a player who has always put in a shift despite the perception from some misguided quarters that he’s lazy.
“I believe that if you come often to games nobody has to convince you that Ozil is a great player,” he said, “but he added something that people wanted to see from him as well, against Spurs and tonight, that he can fight and come back and win the ball back.
“Once people see that they are behind you, everybody knows in the stadium that he is a good football player and at the moment he shows that he can fight.
“I think that he always covered the distances in the game, but he is at an age where he is mature and he understands what is important, what is less important.”
Ozil has borne the brunt of criticism in the past, but Wenger defended his man and highlighted a key part of his game.
“I don’t agree with that because when you look at the percentage of possession during a game, no matter what the game is, he always wants the ball,” he said.
“He never hides and is never a guy who hides behind an opponent and doesn’t really want the ball. He is always available.
“But of course, when you play football you have other outfield players and when you are dominated you touch the ball less, but when we win the ball he always wants the ball.”