Cazorla jumps to Ozil's defence amid pressure flop claims

Arsenal star defends summer signing after Mesut continues to attract Real Madrid fallout.

The accusation that Mesut Ozil left Real Madrid because he could not handle the pressure has been rejected by the player's new team-mate, Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla.

The Spaniard, signed for a £12m fee last summer, points to Ozil's quality performances in big matches, his stature on the international stage and his overall class in week by week games as testament to his ability at handling pressurised situations. Cazorla also noted that the German's arrival could boost the Gunners' title chances this season.

Speaking to Sphera Sports, Cazorla said: 'He was at Real Madrid for three years and he showed his quality there. I don't know why he has left Madrid, but I am sure that pressure wasn't the reason. Mesut has played in big games and he has always turned up.

'I think he left for other, more personal reasons, and not because of the pressure he was under.'

See also: 5 things Arsenal must do to win the Premier League

See also: Cazorla hails young Gunner on par with Spain's best

At Real Madrid, Ozil's overall statistics make for impressive reading. In 159 appearances and 11,424 minutes of on-pitch action, the 24-year-old completed 71 assists, scored 27 times and made 6,675 passes (85% accuracy).

Despite transferring into a different football culture and a new league, it is form he has maintained at Arsenal with a stellar performance against Stoke City at the weekend the punctuation mark to Arsenal's new-found title credentials.

Ozil is already topping the Premier League's assist charts with three and, had it not been for Theo Walcott's wastefulness in front of goal against Sunderland, Ozil could have far more. Wenger even warned the best is yet to come from the advanced midfield magician.

Cazorla, like his manager Arsene, is giddy over the possibilities and is quoted by the Telegraph to have said: 'He is a top player who wins matches. It's great to be next to him every day because every time you learn something new, we are really lucky to have him in our team.

'He gives us exactly what we need and his incorporation in to the side has given the squad a big step up in terms of quality. I hope that his arrival gives us a chance of getting up there and fighting for the title.'

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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