A place on the bench and a 24 minute cameo for Arsenal's record signing.
Mesut Ozil missed the game against Sunderland last week with a minor injury but returned to full training this week. Despite the loss, Arsene Wenger is convinced he managed the playmaker correctly.
"He came on at the right moment I think. But we just conceded a goal. When we started to pin them back on that long ball we were dominating."
How correct he is that Ozil came on at the right time, is another matter, as the German offered little when he came on - awarded a rating of just 5.96 out of 10 by whoscored.com.
Stats show he averaged just under one-touch per minute, but completed just 15 of his 21 passes, with no goalscoring chances created or through balls.
|Player||Team||Accurate Pass||Total Pass||Key Passes||Total Through Ball||Touches||Total Scoring Att||Ontarget Scoring Att||Mins|
Ozil heads off with Germany now for an international friendly, and the break may well do him good. With Arsenal facing a crucial month facing Bayern, Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea, they need him at his very best.
We ultimately did not get a proper look at what Ozil could bring against Stoke, but Wenger's admission that the German was fully fit hinted at one of two things:
(a) mentally Ozil is not ready yet, or (b) he did not feel the type of match was suited to Ozil's qualities and lacked faith in him to make an impact.
Both would be worrying, and perhaps it's a combination of the two. The performance he made in the 24 minutes he did play, suggested if Wenger felt he was not likely to shine in the game, then he was right.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald