'He was fit to start' - Wenger confirms that Ozil was rested v Stoke

Mesut Ozil was left on the bench against Stoke City after returning from injury.

Arsenal fans will remember Mesut Ozil’s debut with joy. The German had just arrived from Real Madrid on a club record fee of £42.4 million and Arsenal were riding the crest of a wave.

That game was against Stoke City, and Ozil bagged two assists and a rapturous reception from his new beloved fans.

Arsenal were top of the league, Aaron Ramsey was looking like their very own midfield dynamo and the sun was shining - it was a good day to be an Arsenal fan.

Today they played Stoke again - and so much has changed.

It was cold, Ramsey is still out injured, Arsenal lost and were knocked down to third in the Premier League - with Manchester City two games and two points behind.

And Ozil - he cut a dejected figure on the Arsenal bench.

His 2014 form has been flat - as he looks tired and bedraggled by the physical nature of the Premier League.

His missed penalty against Bayern Munich seemed to be a jumping the shark moment for the Arsenal fans - and the realisation there prodigal son has flaws has been tough to take.

Ozil missed the recent Sunderland game through injury - but returned to training in the week and was expected to start today.

But Wenger left him on the bench, fuelling suggestions he was only fit for a place among the subs.

But Wenger confirmed post-game that Ozil was fine, and the decision was merely in the best interest of the team:

“No he was fit to start. He has played many, many games. He came on at the right moment I think.”

It seems that Wenger felt that now was the right time to give Ozil a rest - which many fans have been calling on him to do for weeks.

But it certainly didn’t seem to improve the side and fans will be hoping Ozil is back to his best form and shape when they take on Everton in the FA Cup next weekend - or more silverware could slip through their fingers.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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