Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has leapt to the defence of teammate Mesut Ozil, suggesting he’s never faced the pressure of what he’s currently experiencing with the Gunners.
Ozil is likely to start for Germany in the World Cup final this evening and Arteta says much of the criticism levelled at the German last season was unfair.
“He’s never been in that situation before but he coped with it really well, he took it on the chin, he tried really hard and he was always in a position to help the team. People forget how well he started and how many good moments he gave us during the season,” said Arteta.
Ozil started last season brilliantly, justifying the £42 million price Arsene Wenger urged the club to pay Real Madrid to get a deal done on the final day of last summer’s transfer window.
However, as the campaign went on, Ozil’s performances went off the boil as he appeared to struggle with the physical nature of football in England, not having a winter break and the fact teams were finding tactical systems which kept him quiet.
There have been plenty of reports from Germany, which have criticised the way he’s played at the World Cup for his country but a solid performance this evening will give Ozil confidence and momentum heading towards next season.
Ozil will rightly start the new campaign as Wenger’s primary number ten.
The only ways that wouldn’t be the case are if he got injured, if Wenger opted for Santi Cazorla in behind the main striker or if the boss wanted to play Alexis Sanchez in a central attacking role.
The part of Arteta’s comments, which are confusing is where he suggests Ozil has never experienced anything like he’s currently going through.
It’s important to remember that he joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2010 after a decent impact for his country.
He experienced the magnitude of a huge club at a younger age so the pressure of moving to Arsenal and the Premier League shouldn’t be the main factor for his inconsistency last season.
He’ll be better off for a season of Premier League football under his belt and he can rest assured that he’ll be in Arsenal’s starting eleven for the game against Crystal Palace on August 16.