Mesut Ozil has never used sickness as an excuse to miss Arsenal games

Mesut Ozil turns on critics that question his integrity

In a wide-ranging interview with the Athletic, Mesut Ozil has come out fighting against those that have attacked his fitness record.

Ozil has missed quite a few games since he signed for Arsenal, over 100 and that has led to some questioning his motivation. Former Gunner Martin Keown is one of those that laid into the 30-year-old

Keown said: ‘To miss that amount of games is quite remarkable, isn’t it? 100 matches in that period. I would say that is definitely questionable. We don’t know, only the player knows.

‘Is he injured, is he ill? One of the things as a player you have got to be available for selection & you want to give consistency.’

Those comments have clearly not gone down to well with the German playmaker.

Ozil defends himself

‘I get really frustrated when I miss a game through illness and people question if it is genuine,’ Ozil told The Athletic.

‘Yes, it happened a few times — usually in the winter — but what am I supposed to do? If you knew me, you would know it takes a lot for me to miss a game and I have never used sickness as an excuse. Actually the opposite.

‘I played many games when I was ill or had injuries. Before the Champions League game against Bayern Munich [in March 2017], I was sick and Arsene told me I was not in the squad because of that. The next morning, the guys from Arsenal called me and said, ‘Listen, you have to come to the stadium, you have to be in the squad’. Despite my illness, I joined the squad and played the last 20 minutes.

‘Most players don’t play when injured or sick — it influences your game, you can’t give everything — but I was always available unless it was impossible.’

This shows that Ozil is not immune to what is being said about him. His defence of his fitness levels shows that he gets hurt by those accusing him of trying to avoid playing.

I suppose it comes down to whether you believe him or not. I personally do, he is a professional and I doubt he feigns injury etc. However, he does have to answer for his occasional poor attitude on the field and not tracking back.

The bottom line is that no matter what Ozil says or does he will always have his supporters and critics. Nothing he says will change anybody’s minds. They are already made up.

53 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    He’s obviously not allowed to be ill, on that wage 🙄🙄🙄

    1. Eddie Hoyte says:

      Sue,I bet out of that huge salary he earns, he paid Arsene Wenger to lie about his health two seasons ago

    2. Sparkles says:

      Sue, nobody talked about his wage. I know your idol can’t be wrong but make your argument a bit more objective.

      1. Sue says:

        I’m just going by the comments I’ve seen…his wage is bought up all the time.. and less of the idol, please.. just because I really like someone that plays for the team I support, doesn’t mean they’re my idol 🙄

  2. Dan kit says:

    So by that statement he’s saying the club or Emery have lied about pass illnesses ,that does not surprise me .

    1. Sparkles says:

      How you reached that conclusion baffles me. Of course your Ozil can not lie but the club you support can, right? OK. TBH, this whole discussion makes no difference. Missed out on 100games and you weren’t Ill, so what happened? Its either you were Ill or unfit. Either ways you couldn’t have played. And oh! Dan, he missed most of those games in the Wenger era. I guess Wenger was lying too.

    2. ken1945 says:

      Reading between the lines Dan, that’s the way it looks.

      It seems that the recent announcement by the club have, FINALLY, opened up Mesut to say something in his defence.

      I am now beginning to wonder if the club have taken a furtive step backwards in trying to mislead the fans?

      It certainly seems that this is what Ozil is saying – I feel rather foolish in not doubting what was said by our club and there is no doubt whatsoever about his feelings for The Arsenal…so Mesut I apologise for doubting you and can’t wait to see you in our shirt once again.

      Thanks for giving your side of the story, great to hear it from the (pedigree of course!!) horses mouth.

  3. Eddie Hoyte says:

    But then again why will anybody believe his health is an issue when he’s earning 350k?
    Why will it change just because he gave the interview?
    Arsene Wenger kept on going about how he has a back problem for two seasons and why he missed a lot of games.
    We all know Wenger was lying about that, we all know Ozil’s body is in 100% shape. After all he earns a lot.
    Like you said, people already have their mind made up about him, I don’t argue or stand against the fact that he has declined as a player (every footballer does) I don’t think he’s the player he was but always picking on him for no goddamn reason is what I’ll never do.
    Does he deserve his chances this season? Yes he does. Even if he’s not playing every game, at least he should be getting his gametime.
    Everyone all acting insane and always saying stuffs like “Oh Ozil is not in the squad, what sickness or excuse is it this time?” and all sorts of jibes being thrown at his health.

    Hang in there man, Wenger lied about your health issues all those years, Emery might’ve lied also, you earn 350k so act like it and fix your body

    1. Munster says:

      Lol give it up eddie

  4. SAGooner says:

    Nobody is outright lying. Being available does not mean automatic selection, in particular if you’re not doing what the coach expects of you, which is and should be irrespective of reputation or salary.

  5. simon says:

    it is obvious emery and management are lying al binitio to force ozil to leave..thank goodness he is not going anywhere!!!..a club and manager that lacks class and tact deserves none!!!..if emery and the top men want him out,let them say so and stop been cowards!!

  6. gotanidea says:

    A not-injured player can be excluded from the squad if he is really sick or if he is deemed as unfit

    I believe the club’s medical staffs monitor the players’ fitness level regularly

    A football club and their players can state anything to defend themselves, but the players’ performances and work rate in the field will eventually reveal the truth

    1. Eddie Hoyte says:

      Aye! The club and its past staffs were all lying then when they came out with his back issues and his illness sometimes?
      Going by your last paragraph, since he hasn’t been performing, I bet everyone lied to defend him like you stated.
      Or am I getting you wrong there?
      Would you clarify please?

      1. Lenohappy says:

        Why is it that you are the only one who always get offended with gotanidea, you can make your comments without saying anything to him, sometimes I think gotanidea says rubbish but sometimes he also makes sense so please just let him make his comments and you make yours,it’s getting annoying that you are always the only one who take offense with whatever he says.

        1. gotanidea says:

          Thanks bro. It’s fine if someone just asks without spouting foul words

          If someone gets offended, triggered or iritated because of my comments, I believe it’s because they can’t separate opinions and attacks

          Every person that differs in opinion is instantly unlikable. It’s just human nature

        2. Eddie Hoyte says:

          Oh, I don’t take offense in his comments, hell we both argue and debate on topics but I’ve never taken offense out of whatever he says.
          Sorry it seems like that to you, I normally call some comments stupid and dumb, not only gotanidea’s comments so I don’t know what you’re driving at, and it’s getting annoying to you?
          I aint Sorry man, we’re free to express ourselves, if you choose to get annoyed over nothing, that’s your own cup of coffee

        3. Eddie Hoyte says:

          BTW I don’t know if you had glasses on or not, I’d please like you to show me how I attacked him up there, because all I did was asking questions and asked him to clarify his statements.
          You should read and understand more before you say stuffs Leno

      2. gotanidea says:

        Suppose Arsenal and their medical staffs lied about Ozil’s condition last season, Ozil was supposed to prove that it was all a lie

        Ozil could do that by showing good performances and high work rate, but he showed the opposite consistently last season

        It’s apparent that Ozil has declined badly like Sanchez. It’s either because of their mega salaries that have gotten into their heads or their ages

        1. Eddie Hoyte says:

          Alright you’ve answered my question, if the club lied about his medical conditions seasons ago.
          Why should I believe everything that comes out of their mouth now? Saying he doesn’t work hard enough?
          If they Lied before, how credible is their statement about him now ?
          Do you see where the mixup is from?

          1. Sparkles says:

            But since Ozil didn’t show up the times he played, since he hasn’t shown that he has the required work rate demanded from him, why do you choose to assume that the club probably lied about his fitness in the seasons past?

          2. ozziegunner says:

            Ozil openly stated at the beginning of this season that injury and illness had affected his performances last season. Was he lying then too?
            As I have suggested previously does anyone believe that the non selection of Ozil is purely a decision of the coach and not supported by management? Raul Sanheili has said it is, so is he lying?
            The discussion between Kevin Campbell and Lee Judges regarding player fitness assessment levels and Ozil, and Ozil’s training on AFTV makes interesting viewing.

  7. Kenyanfan says:

    We want Ozil more than we want half of that squad out there. Some of us started supporting Arsenal because of some names associated with Arsenal and that’s when the love grew and spread to Arsenal as a club. I personally started supporting Arsenal because of 1)T.henry and 2)Wenger. The determination and passion they played with pulled me in. I officially became a member in 2006(UCL final against Barcelona) By then I didn’t know arsenal more than I knew Barcelona but the heart never lies. I found myself wanting Arsenal to win. So Emery should respect the fans and give Ozil a chance out there. Otherwise if Ozil is not worth the shirt then I don’t see how xhaka, S.papa, AMN and Nelson are worth it!

  8. ThirdManJW says:

    With Ozil saying he’s happy to see out his contract, says everything we need to know about his ambitions, and passion for the game.

    Whether Emery is right or wrong is irrelevant. The bottom line is that Ozil barely plays anymore, and it’s clear the situation isn’t changing anytime soon. In fact, I get the impression it will never change.

    Doesn’t Ozil want to play anymore? His motivation has come into question many times before, and it will again. One could argue, that it’s great that he wants to stay, and fight for a spot in the team. I applaud that, if that is the case, but where is this fight then? Ozil did zero last season, to worry Emery about leaving him out, and has continued with the same form this season. Surely Ozil wants to show he’s still got it?

    Of course Ozil has barely played this season, so passing judgement purely on this season would be harsh. But given last season, one would expect Ozil to be firing on all cylinders, to prove Emery wrong. Yet in two appearances against weak opponents, what did he do? He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great either. And in the Forest game, almost every youngster out performed him.

    And for all those saying this is Emery’s fault, what were you all watching under Wenger then? Because Ozil had been under performing long before Emery got here.

    1. Dan kit says:

      How can it not be Emery’s fault though he’s payed to get the best out of the players at his disposal.
      I’ll agree Ozil is not up to the standards of yesteryears but has soon as Emery appeared he’s not been getting the best out of him ,you only need to look at Torreira to see that he does not know what’s best for the team ,Torreira was smashing it last season now he’s disappearing like so many past players .
      Pepe is another one ,we can already see that fans are starting to get on his back ,why was he signed for a club record fee if Emery cant use him to his full potential ,he’s being asked to play in a formation which does not let him be himself .
      There is obviously a rift between the 2 but I would easily pick Ozil over Emery to be at this club .

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        I agree with what you’re saying to some extent. What I would say, is that sometimes not all players within the squad will fit into the managers philosophy, even if they’re very good players. A great example is Mourinho with Salah, and De Bruyne. One could argue that is more the fault of the board than anyone else, for hiring a defensive coach, and then expect that coach to get the best out of attacking players.

        But Wenger played perfectly into Ozil’s strengths, yet Ozil still under performed the majority of time. I’ll admit Ozil was far better under Wenger, than Emery, but he still wasn’t consistent enough.

        So when do we start looking at the player, instead of the managers then? Fernando Torres’ form nosedived at just 26yo, and he never recovered. He had many managers after that (4 or 5 I think) and under performed for all of them. Is it all of the managers fault, or the player? Ozil’s been under performing for 2 managers now, 3 if one counts the national team as well. Although I think his national performances are subjective.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          Dan kit, Ozil himself has stated that injury and illness affected his performances last season, yet Emery was supposed to pick him to play?

  9. Declan says:

    All seems clear to me. He turned up for work when he was ill or when his back was playing him up but was sent home by management as either a risk of “infecting” other players or management deemed it too risky for him to play without breaking down.
    Can we now please move on and leave the man alone. The amount of abuse he is getting, mainly because of the amount of money that he is paid, (and let’s not forget, it is the club who have agreed the amount), is outrageous. What most of the anti Ozïl minority on here don’t get, because they don’t go to games, is that when his name is announced at the stadium, he gets the biggest cheer of all.

    1. Sue says:

      Hurrah hurrah!! Excellent comment, Declan! 👍

      1. Dan kit says:

        Agreed aswell 👍
        Majority over minorities every time
        I would take the opinions of 50 odd thousand over a couple of fans on here .

        1. Andrew Elder says:

          Declan post makes absolute sense but no doubt will be totally ignored by the anti brigade. So following on Keown’s remarks that it is ‘remarkable’ to miss 100 games in a total of 6 years i.e. 16 games a season which includes the Carabao Cup, FA cup & European cup games and the PL. I have got some stats from Wikipedia over the full 6 seasons including UE’s last season.

          OZIL: TOTAL apps. 239 – as a sub 24
          Average games per season – 40

          RAMSEY: TOTAL apps. 219 – as a sub 48
          Average games per season – 37

          I don’t anyone calling Aaron a skiver!!

          One other point about his earnings, no one knows for sure what he is actually earning, the club never comment on this. Anyway assuming he is on what is reported he probably earns the club more than that on shirt sales alone. A report a couple of years ago showed that AFC sold 1.23 million shirts in that year and that Ozil was ranked 5th in worldwide shirt sales. And he sells more shirts than any Arsenal player. At £65 a shirt that’s a lot of dosh and they are probably selling more now with Adidas as sponsor.

          Thought I would just put some facts down but it will probably be a waste of time.

          1. Andrew Elder says:

            ‘recall anyone calling…’

          2. Sue says:

            Nice one, Andrew 👍

    2. ken1945 says:

      Declan, thank you sir, for spelling out what I have been saying for ages.

      That is why I asked one anti Ozil fan, who cannot make games, to take up my offer of a free ticket to actually go and witness what empty seats look like, what awful football is being played, but most of all, to witness the support Ozil is given.
      His song rings out, he takes corners and fans clap and bow to him…he acknowledges them with a shy grin and a wave.
      Chants start even when he’s not in the squad, but it falls on deaf ears!!
      Your so right, the name Ozil brings excitement to the crowd, but you have to be there to know and understand that.

      This is not being discourteous to fans, unlucky enough to not attend games (as I was accused of recently by the guy I offered the free ticket to!!), it’s trying to explain what is actually going on.

      1. Andrew Elder says:

        Ken, you would know for sure. If they have an ‘Arsenal fan of the season’ I know where my vote would go. Scotland to the Emirates and back, wow!!!

      2. Declan says:

        I’ll be in the Gunners pub before the Palace game if you fancy a pint before I go to my seat in the North Bank.

        1. Declan says:

          Meant for Ken

  10. Ruiz says:

    Ozil here did not deny he gets ill, a lot. He basically says he gets ill during Winter. That’s December-March. Imagine being out for four months and probably needing one month to fully recover, five months.

    It’s okay to get ill, but you can’t be ill and get selected or perform at your best. Last season we all know Ozil looked ill, he lost a lot of weight and appeared to lack energy. How do you count on a footballer that isn’t healthy?

    I’m an Ozil fan, but I trust the manager. We know zero about what’s happening inside the club. Emery needs to win, he’s not stupid, if Ozil was the same Ozil we know, Emery will put him out there. If the manager doesn’t trust that Ozil can win us games, then Ozil isn’t cutting it.

    All these moaning about Emery not being able to work with Big players, Ozil isn’t bigger than Cavani or Mbappe. Why isn’t there a problem with Aubameyang and Lacazette? Because they work hard and they are healthy. We have to accept that our fav isn’t healthy.

    1. Viju Jacob says:

      Really? Ozil isn’t bigger than Cavani & Mbappe? Are you even aware of the “pull” Ozil has internationally? Please do not make sweeping statements without knowing facts.

  11. Innit says:

    I don’t think Emery, Mertsacker and the other guy (forgot how to spell his name) are lying that Ozil isn’t performing in Training

    If he is lazy in matches (not defending, retrieving ball, no assists), him being lazy or underperforming in matches is very plausible

    I don’t think there is anything personal either.
    Last season under Emery 24 matches
    Previous season Wenger 26 matches

    He’s been given plenty of opportunities.

    If he improves his performance in training he will get matches. He already has 1 match. He can get more by giving more effort

    EMERY OUT

  12. Innit says:

    BTW

    Ozil is a very generous human being giving loads of money to charities for sick children having operations

    I pointed this out last year

    And I supported him every year until last season.

    I’ve nothing against him

    I just think players should earn a start and playing time

    EMERY OUT

    1. SAGooner says:

      Wrll said, Innit, agree totally that, just as respect must be earned and is not conferred by position, a player must earn his starting spot in the team. Özil did not earn it last year, and from what we’ve seen to date, not this season either. He was even given the Captain’s armband for a particular game, but did not make use of the opportunity to demonstrate that he deserves a place in the senior lineup.

      Good luck, Mesut, I have nothing against you personally, but you will be better.off.looking for a team that suits your playing style.

  13. Glorious says:

    I don’t think Emery has anything personal on Ozil issue. Just that the manager wants to retain his job by making the club to reach top 4 because anything short of this can jeopardize his future at Arsenal this season.
    Let’s check these facts.

    Two-season ago under Wenger 26 matches, Arsenal was out of top 4.

    Previous season under Emery 24 matches, Arsenal was also out of top 4. He’s been given plenty of opportunities to prove himself but let the coaches down ( l have to single him out because some fans believe in him as world class player)

    This season now, the coach need to salvage his job first before favouritism ( don’t mention Zhaka because none of our midfielder has the kind of stamina he processed, until we have another player who can displace him, he will continue to get selected over the likes of Ozil whose position has been occupied by a better player).

    Let us support Arsenal and not a player that is underperforming.

    1. ken1945 says:

      So is Luiz underperforming, is Sokratis underperforming, is pepe underperforming???

      So you can slate Ozil off, but xhaka can’t be mentioned becuase we don’t have another player to replace him???

      So why didn’t we buy someone who could replace him then, instead of spending £72,000,000 on a forward player?
      AMN, Torreria, Chambers could all do a better job than him and to make him captain is the biggest insult of all.

      At the moment we are supporting Arsenal, with players who are not performing being selected.

      1. Andrew Elder says:

        To continue your thread Ken, if all underperforming players were left out, we would not be able to put out a team!!!

  14. gerry burke says:

    so, it now seems that the mighty ozil has taken over from wenger as the professor of untruths . it was bound to happen i guess, after all mr.wenger was the untimate teller of untruths. remember all those penalties that his players gave away ?. why bless my soul , mr. wenger never ever saw one of them as penalties, strange brew !.

    1. RSH says:

      At least Wenger had periods of success and has done a lot of Arsenal. Why should anybody respect such a player who tries only when he wants, walks around with a “woe is me” attitude, and isn’t fit to start an EPL match in October when he has no injuries. I’d pick the kids over him any day as well. Oh, he played well against Leicester last season… That was almost a year ago. Hasn’t has a top class game since. Ridiculous the amount of defense he gets. No other top 6 club would touch him even with reduced wages.

      1. Seng says:

        Why should anyone respect the opinion of a nobody who acts and write his petty opinions thinking he knows about football more than the world cup winner and sulks just because he cannot make money mesut ozil’s earning

        1. RSH says:

          Haha, seems I’ve hit a nerve. Sorry that your boy is past it. Obviously you have to bring up something he did in 2014 to make him look good.

          1. gerry burke says:

            RSH , brilliant comeback there. i am sitting laughing here at all the fans on here defending ozil. i think even candles are being burned in his honour. when will it ever end. when he does eventually leave the club we will have his fan seniors crying into their keyboards. i cannot wait for the day to come, i will certainally enjoy the moaning and groaning about their lost wizard.

  15. Cp says:

    Even those games that he did not make assist in go back and look at those games again you will discover that ozil is always the one starting the move if there is something like pre-assist he will be number one. even last season with limited games only two people out scored him Abua and lac.

    1. Gizzle says:

      @Cp The word preassist should never be used again . Last season IWobi was the king of it for arsenal and he was insulted and we where told the preassist is not a thing so please it should not be used for OZil or any other player .

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