The Arsenal boss feels the World Cup left the midfielder with little energy, while denying talk of a rift between Alexis Sanchez and the ex-Real Madrid man
Arsene Wenger is confident that Arsenal fans will see the best of Mesut Ozil when he returns from his latest injury lay-off.
The Germany international is recovering from a knee ligament injury suffered on international duty, with the timeframe for his return set back until after the turn of the year.
Ozil has been criticised for some under-par showings in the early weeks of the Premier League season, though Wenger puts that down to tiredness after winning the World Cup, and the former Monaco boss believes the midfielder’s return will coincide with improved performances.
“I think, at Real, he played in a very strong team,” the Arsenal manager told BeIn Sports, “and he had a very good season with us last year.
“But he had the World Cup and came back tired. We will see the best Ozil when he returns.”
Wenger also moved to deny reports of a rift between Ozil and team-mate Alexis Sanchez, saying: “I was not aware of the supposed problems between Ozil and Sanchez. For me, there is no problem.”
Arsenal currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, having won just four of their first 11 fixtures, and are 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Wenger believes that the main issues in his team stem from defence, with the absence through injury of Laurent Koscielny disrupting the balance of the side.
He remarked: “We have many shortcomings this season. They are defensive firstly – both the level of experience and absence of injury.
“A defence needs the reading of the game, the physical quality and it’s also a balance. When Koscielny is not there, we are destabilised. We do not have a balance so we have insecurity all the time.”
Many have pointed to the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona in the summer as part of the reason for Arsenal’s defensive failures, despite the Belgium international having not yet played for the Blaugrana through injury.
But Wenger feels that he had no option but to sell his former captain, even if his departure did leave him short of options at the back.
“The problem with football today is that you cannot keep for four or five seasons players who do not play. We had to give him a release,” he explained. “This is a player who has not played much with us last year but he behaved in a remarkable way.”
Wenger also revealed that Olivier Giroud will not neccessarily come straight back into the side on his return from injury, with Danny Welbeck and Alexis among those battling for the striker’s berth.
“There is no indisputable in a team,” he insisted. “[Giroud] is considered as a potential starter, as are Alexis and Welbeck.”