I was firmly behind Arsene Wenger last week as he stood up for the Arsenal and Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil. Our number 11 had been the subject of criticism, once again, from the former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Scholes.
Scholes had a right pop and suggested that Ozil was just coasting and had not got close to his best since joining the Gunners from Real Madrid over a year ago. Wenger backed his star, suggested that his critics are not giving him credit or appreciating what he gives the side and claimed that Scholes would have loved a player of Ozil’s ability alongside him when he was playing.
I have to take my hat off to Scholes though, because he has had the courage to agree with what the Arsenal boss said via an article in The Independent, even if he did half suggest that Ozil’s performance against his old club in the FA cup was much better than his usual.
He was also full of praise for Coquelin and Cazorla and Arsenal in general, and that could not have been easy after we knocked his beloved club out of the cup.
Scholes said, “I found myself agreeing with Arsène Wenger on Monday night. The Arsenal manager said last Friday that I would have loved to have played alongside Mesut Özil – and that would be right, as long as Özil played every week as well as he did at Old Trafford.
“Arsenal impressed me against United, and that has been a rarity in recent years. There were similarities with their performance against Manchester City in January. They looked sharp and hungry, full of energy in midfield where they overpowered United. They looked physically commanding too, and Danny Welbeck’s pace and power were important.
“Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin were the pick of the team in my opinion. I never had them down as so strong. They were quick and aggressive and got the better of United. They showed Van Gaal’s team what they were lacking in midfield and, funnily enough, they were not afraid to be direct with their attacks when it suited them.”
This is not the first time that Scholes has admitted that his criticism of Arsenal may have been wrong. He did the same with Jack Wilshere and then spoke up in support of the young Gunner after some good performances and accepted that injury problems were mainly to blame for holding back his progression. It is easy to criticise and Scholes likes to say what he thinks so fair play to him for putting the other side across as well.
Maybe he should have a word with the likes of Michael Owen and Adrian Durham.