SportSoccer

Wenger challenges Ozil to defy his critics

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Ozil has struggled to impress at Arsenal
Ozil has struggled to impress at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his £42.4m club record signing Mesut Ozil has a point to prove to his critics in the final weeks of the season.

Ozil has come under persistent fire for his displays since his arrival at Arsenal, with former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes the latest critic to question his efforts in recent days.

Yet Wenger is convinced Ozil has the stomach for the fight at Arsenal as he suggested the German World Cup winner will shine in Arsenal red.

“He has a point to prove and he knows that,” stated Wenger.

“We are all in a job where in every single game we have to prove a point. I believe that he has the quality. He puts a lot of effort in to help a team. He works much harder than his style shows.

“You can be cheated a little by his style of play. He is fluent, supple and looks like he doesn’t put the effort in, but he does. I knew he had good physical potential, but I didn’t realise how good. He has a huge physical potential.”

Danny Welbeck is another player under the spotlight at Arsenal as he is struggling to get into a strong attacking forward line at Arsenal, but he is convinced he can play a role as he returns to his former club Manchester United for Monday night's FA Cup quarter-final.

“Danny Welbeck is very important to us,” confirmed Wenger. “He played many, many games since the start of the season.

“If you check the statistics, it is wrong statement as he is one of the player who plays the most games for us. You have moments in the season where some players play a bit less. Most of the times it’s up front because not every single player can play every game at the start of the season.

“Danny Welbeck is an exceptional football player and he has a great future here. I am very, very happy that I bought him.”

Per Mertesacker looks set to return to the Arsenal side for the Manchester United showdown as Gabriel is out with a hamstring injury, while keeper keeper Wojciech Szczesny is set to replace David Ospina.