Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted to the club’s official website that he did not know how good Mesut Ozil is from a physical aspect.
The Germany international playmaker is not seen as someone who is robust and works hard, but recent stats have shown otherwise.
According to figures published on Arsenal’s official website, since February 1, Ozil has run a total of 63.24km during matches - more than any of his teammates.
Wenger has now conceded that he did not know these stats about Ozil.
“I knew he had a good physical potential, but I did not know how good he was physically,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website. “He has a huge physical potential.
“We are all in a job where in every single game we have to prove a point. I believe he has the quality, he puts a lot of effort in to help the team and he works much harder than his style shows.
“You can be cheated a little bit by his style of play, because he is fluent, easy, subtle and he does not look like he puts the effort in, but he does.”
Will criticism of Mesut Ozil’s style now stop?
Ozil is a playmaker and his main job is to create goals, but the nature of the Premier League is such that one cannot get away with doing just that.
The former Real Madrid star also struggled for form at the start of the season, although since his return from a long-term injury, he has performed better.
In 13 Premier League appearances so far this season, the 2014 World Cup winner has scored three goals and created 33 chances, while having a pass accuracy of 87% and a shot accuracy of 50%.
Last season, Ozil scored five goals and created 76 chances in 26 Premier League matches, while having a pass accuracy of 88% and a shot accuracy of 75%.
The German is one of the most talented and creative players in Europe, but he will continue to be scrutinised.
However, the newly-emerged stats do suggest that Ozil is being unfairly criticised. Just because the former Werder Bremen star does not run up and down the pitch does not mean that he is ‘lazy’.