Arsene Wenger has called on Mesut Ozil’s detractors to analyse the German international’s performances with a ‘cool head’ as he again stressed his record signing is the subject of unfair criticism.
The 25-year-old endured a verbal kicking from some quarters of the media at the tail end of last season and was the subject of intense scrutiny throughout the World Cup despite playing an important role in his country’s success.
Thrust into the first XI at Everton following an extended summer break, Ozil’s four appearances have again been deemed underpar both in the press box and on the terraces, a state of affairs that has led many to question whether he should be deployed as a traditional number 10 rather than on the flank.
“People always have this kind of attitude about him,” Wenger said ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game with Borussia Dortmund, a game that last year saw Ozil assist Aaron Ramsey for the Gunners winner.
“He worked hard against Manchester City and he played quite well. You see a good Ozil when you watch the game again. Then you realise his timing, his quality of the pass and something you can be frustrated during the game but you must not overreact.
“When you watch the game in a cool manner, you see what a good player he is. I have so many offensive players. I give him freedom to play outside and inside and he likes that. It is not easy but Ozil is a team player and he takes it very well.”
Last week Ozil spoke openly about his positional preference maintaining that he remains one of the game’s best playing behind a main striker.
“I’m one of the best players in the world in that number 10 position. Fans, coaches, players and everyone knows that my best position is playmaker. It’s different playing on the left.
“When I was in Madrid, I often played on the right. I enjoyed that because I’m left-footed and I was able to cut inside to give assists and get shots on target. On the left, it’s more difficult.”