Arsene Wenger has leapt to the defence of Mesut Ozil after recent performances

Published 23/12/16 

Arsene Wenger has leapt to the defence of Mesut Ozil after the German faced criticism for his performance during the Gunners' 2-1 defeat at Manchester City last weekend.

Ozil's perceived laziness during the Premier League clash at the Etihad drew criticism from his own supporters, with the playmaker shown walking during stages of the match.

Wenger, however, has said that Ozil "works much harder than people think" and has backed the former Real Madrid attacker to bounce back in the Boxing Day fixture with West Bromwich Albion.

"It's very difficult for me to come out on an individual - I have a debrief with players themselves. To be absolutely fair I did not listen to all the criticism we got, but we have to accept it," Wenger told reporters.

"People analyse and have opinion and that's normal. We have to respond. Big players always respond to criticism on pitch. I don't give him leeway - when team has no possession he has to do job like everybody else. Usually he does it well.

"But he suffers more when we don't have the ball and at City we didn't have the ball enough, but unfortunately if you want the ball you have to win it back. He is a guy who works much harder than people think - his body language goes against him sometimes."

Back-to-back Premier League defeats have left Arsenal down in fourth in the table, some nine points off the league leaders Chelsea.

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