herald

Friday 17 August 2018

wenger: ozil is not a fall guy

Mesut Ozil must not be used as a "scapegoat" for Arsenal's shortcomings, manager Arsene Wenger has insisted.

The German World Cup winner, who is Arsenal's record £42million signing, has come under fire following a couple of uninspiring displays, culminating in the 2-0 Champions League defeat away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.

Wenger, though, rejected constant criticism of the 25-year-old, who remains an integral part of his plans.

"Why should he be a scapegoat? For what? We've lost one game since April 1. Let's be realistic," said Wenger, whose side travel to Aston Villa on Saturday.

"We have come out of a very difficult preparation period with decisive games. We had very difficult games against Besiktas. I don't know - a scapegoat for what?"

Wenger continued: "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.

"You have plenty of tacticians in the world who have managed zero games. You have to accept their opinion - they might be right, they might be wrong as well. They have to accept that.

"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."

Wenger called for Arsenal fans to get behind the German, who was signed from Real Madrid on deadline day in September 2013.

"They should not be concerned and just support him," he pleaded.

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