Wenger: I don't give Ozil any leeway

The Arsenal manager has defended the Germany international following accusations the playmaker has not been working hard enough in recent games

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is confident that Mesut Ozil will respond to his critics on the pitch after putting in an underwhelming performance in their 2-1 defeat by Manchester City.

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The Germany international received his fair share of criticism after struggling to make an impact against City but Wenger has defended his playmaker and has little doubt that the German will be back to his best when they take on West Brom on Boxing Day.

“We have to accept criticism and live with it. People analyse things and give their opinion. Criticism is normal,” Wenger told reporters.

“But Ozil is an important player, a big player and big players always respond on the pitch.

“I don’t give him any leeway. Ozil has to do his work like everyone else and usually he does it well.

“His main strength is when we have the ball and he suffers more than others when we don’t have the ball – but if you want the ball, you have to win it back.

“I think he is a guy who works much harder than people think. His body language speaks against him. Mesut does his part of the job very well. We always aim to win the ball high up the pitch.”

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