Arsenal fans have argued about the importance of Mesut Ozil to the first-team in recent years, and goalkeeper Bernd Leno has moved to insist that he is a key player.
The former Real Madrid midfielder has come under scrutiny in recent seasons, with some naming him lazy, and others keen to see the back of him.
Mikel Arteta doesn’t appear to have the same thinking however, with the Spaniard having made the decision to start Ozil in each of his 10 Premier League line-ups since returning to the club as coach in December, compared to only eight starts in the previous 17 PL outings.
Bernd Leno has moved to defend his international and club counterpart, and even insists that Ozil is an important player for our side.
“I think his passing is very good, it’s unbelievable,” the goalkeeper told Soccer AM.
“Of course, in the last time he didn’t make too many assists but when you see how many chances he creates, he is maybe playing the one pass before the assist.
“He brings his team-mates into good positions and many people, they don’t see this.
“But when you see him every day in training and also on the pitch, you can feel how important he is and how important his passing is for the team.”
I know that I’m one who regularly jumps on the band-wagon along with many others who are overly critical or Ozil, and I’ve called for him to be moved on a number of times.
I still reiterate that I would like to see the back of the 31 year-old, but if Arteta sees Ozil as a player who will help us push up the table then I will get behind the decision for as long as I can see fit.
We won’t shy away from being critical of those who are under-performing, and while it could well be overly harsh to blame Ozil for much that was wrong with the club, December opened the door to a new positive chapter.
Does Arteta view Ozil as a key player in his rebuild? Are we as fans easy to jump on Mesut over other players?