Arsene Wenger has defended Mesut Ozil after he came in for criticism for his performance during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday.
Television pundit Steven Gerrard was left unimpressed with the Germany international after a fairly anonymous showing.
“He’s left me frustrated – we’ve seen him on his day when he fancies doing both sides of the game he is a world-class talent,” he told BT Sport (via the Mirror).
“I just worry about his reaction and body language – when the ball is turned over he offers his team-mates zero. Away from home he’s a liability – he just doesn’t do enough.
“It’s clear to see that out of possession he doesn’t want to know – he only wants to be on the ball, trying to create and making things happen.
“But world class players do both – when they lose possession they put a shift in for their team-mates and it was clear that didn’t happen.
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“Arsene Wenger has got to address it as out of possession you’re a man down.”
Wenger was then asked about Ozil’s contribution after the game, and spoke out in response to the criticism the World Cup winner had received.
“I think he did fight,” he said. “It is difficult to single anybody out. I believe we had many, many chances and personally I don’t think he deserves [criticism].”
It was a poor display all round by Arsenal on Saturday, and huge improvements will be needed next weekend if they are to get a result at Anfield.