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Arsene Wenger defends Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)


Arsene Wenger defends Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil

Arsene Wenger has told TalkSPORT (Thursday, 9.15am) that he believes Mikel Arteta’s style of a hard-working high press places a handicap on Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil – but defender the playmaker, labelling him as a “good guy”.

Ozil, who turned 32 on Thursday, has failed to play for Arsenal since March 2020. He has entered the final 12 months of his contract with the Gunners, with his enormous £350,000-a-week wages said to be proving difficult to shift.

Indeed, Ozil has stated numerous times that he wants to remain at Arsenal until his contract finishes. Numerous reports have stated that clubs from the middle east wanted Ozil this summer, but he has seemingly decided to remain with Arsenal.


Arsenal icon Wenger explains why he feels Ozil is not playing right now – claiming that Arteta’s style of play means Ozil, who is not renowned for his defensive work, struggles to get into Arteta’s high-tempo side. He defended the 92-time international.

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“Mesut Ozil is a great player, and a creative one,” Wenger said. “You have to balance the team, the defensive side of the game is not one of his strengths. He needs freedom to express his talent – he works hard.

“But he is not very efficient when it comes to defence. Mikel Arteta using a high press, and everybody working hard, is a handicap for him. He’s a good guy, he isn’t a bad character.”

TBR’s view – Ozil has surely played his last game for Arsenal

Wenger is bang on. Arteta’s style of play means that there is no place for a luxury, creative players like Ozil – who works best at a slow tempo and certainly does not go chasing after the ball – in his Arsenal side.

It is hardly Ozil’s fault and it is nothing to do with his huge wages. Instead, it is purely because Ozil does not suit Arteta’s style of play. The issue has been exacerbated because of his pay cheque, but the reason for the issue is an obvious one – as Wenger says.

Arsenal v Sevilla FC - Emirates Cup

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

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