Wenger identifies the one way to make Ozil happy

Arsene Wenger has hinted a rest is not what Mesut Ozil needs.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reacted with clear agitation at his press conference on Thursday, when the subject of a rest for Mesut Ozil was broached.

He did not understand why a one or two day break was a big deal, as he clearly felt the German needed to be back.

"Many clubs have two days off sometimes. We've played since the beginning of December so we don't have to justify here why we have two days off.”

In comments to the Guardian, Wenger has said there is one way to make Ozil happy, and it doesn't involve rest.

"He looks all right. He loves to play. You give him a ball and he's happy. That's the most important thing. And he has the quality. You always have to be behind your players. The best way is to show him support."

That's a hint that Ozil has told Wenger privately that he does not want a further rest and to miss the game with Stoke this weekend, and the manager knows it would be counter-productive to have him sitting in the stands.

Ozil is a naturally gifted footballer, one who surely just wants to get back out there and play. A character who is clearly passionate about the game, sitting and over-thinking about his recent dip in form will only make the situation worse.

Stats show that barring Aaron Ramsey, Ozil has more touches of the ball per game than any other Arsenal player.

PlayerTouches avg per game
Aaron Ramsey 89.78
Mesut Özil 82.48
Santiago Cazorla 81.38
Bacary Sagna 78.46
Mikel Arteta 78.00

It's the sign of a player who enjoys his football that he wants to be at the centre of the action on the pitch, which can act as a kind of sanctuary from the outside criticism. This was not the case against Bayern Munich, where Wenger said he could tell the German was visibly affected by his penalty miss.

Yet the hope is after a slight breather, Ozil will be able to resume normal service and get back to doing what he does best, and will be expected to start against Stoke City this weekend.

image: © wonker

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch