Wenger defends Arteta: Ozil ‘not very efficient’

Arsene Wenger has defended the decision to phase out Mesut Ozil from his playing squad, claiming his team isn’t setup to accommodate him.

The German is enjoying his 32nd birthday today, and appears set to be his last anniversary held at the Emirates.

Manager Mikel Arteta has excluded the birthday boy since March, with the player not having not played a competitive minute of football since before the Coronavirus pandemic hit.

Former boss Arsene Wenger, who oversaw his arrival in North London back in 2013, has moved to praise his former talent, before opening up on why he has lost his place under the Spaniard.

“Mesut Ozil is a great player and a creative player, but you have to balance the team because on the defensive side of it it is not his strength,” Wenger told talkSPORT.

“He needs freedom to express his talents. He does the work but he is not very efficient.

“Mikel Arteta has gone for a team with counter-pressing and who play high up, and everybody has to work hard so that is a bit of handicap for him.

“But he is not a bad character – he is a good guy. It just depends what kind of football you want to play.”

The Frenchman went on to discuss the use of the number 10 role in the current style of play that the game is heading, claiming: “I would say that it is a bit of a contradiction because when you think about it, the guys who see, make you win, the guys with the vision and who can give the ball, make you win.

“At the end of the day football is a bit like a quarterback who gives the ball to a runner and the runner is good enough to put the ball in the net.“If you have those two in the team you always have a chance.

“You can build a team in two ways; you can have one guy who needs the ball and two or three who put the ball in the net and I balance the team around them, or you say you want everybody to work like mad when we don’t have the ball and try after that to score goals.

“Mesut Ozil is a guy in the first example; he can give you the ball. It didn’t stop him being world champion with Germany and being a key player.

“Always, the problem of the manager is how you can balance the team offensively and defensively.”

Our team is certainly playing with balance in recent months, highlighted by our return of silverware in the absence of Ozil, and you couldn’t convince me that the former Real Madrid star is deserving of a return to the team.

On too many occasions he became an unaffordable luxury on the pitch, and I much prefer to see the fight and passion showed on and off the ball that we are witness to of late.

Does Arteta’s system simply not afford to carry Ozil’s defensive frailties? Or is there more to the story?


Tags Arsene Wenger Mesut Ozil


  1. Arsenal was not built to serve the interests of one player. Its a team, which means that everyone should contribute positively to the team. We dont need passengers in a team. Wenger is trying to justify his decisions to extend the contract of Ozil with exorbitant pay rise. At the moment there are no issues to discuss about Ozil, the guy needs to leave the Emirates

  2. Why is Ozil mute and only reiterating that he will end his contract.He is only interested in the money that he earns for not playing. It is a sign of obstinacy. Ozil hasn’t the least respect for the Arsenal Authorities. Not the least respect. It is unfortunate. And his father Wenger does not see the arrogance in his behaviour.
    If all the 25 team players behaved same, there will obviously be no Arsenal Club. Yes!!
    Ozil should rexamine his conscience,
    Attitude at training and answer the question whether he can meet
    Arteta’s game plan to win the trophies that he has won without him playing?
    It is not simply putting Ozil to play when he has no enthusiasm to win.. Or simply because he has been an Assist King in the past. Prove at training that you are still the Ozil of yesteryears sir.

  3. I believe, having heard AW live on TALKSPORT, that the reason MA is not using MO, is purely for the true reasons AW mentioned; namely that he fails to press, work hard and close down. That belief of mine has not changed for the past four seasons at least.

    Football has moved on since AW came here with his beautiful flowing football and now, athleticism is paramount in ALL eleven players. Beautiful football is still effective but ONLY WHEN it is accompanied by full out work rate. THAT FACT is what has done for OZILS career.

    There is not room in modern top level football for coasters and half tryers. Ozil WAS, not is, once a great player but like Wenger and most good things in life, in all walks of life too, times change and old methods that once worked so well,become outdated and surpassed by new methods.

    Just think outside the small box that is football and you will easily see how that principle applies to everything throughout human history.
    Some fans never think on THIS level, not being of that intellectual capacity, so they fool themselves that football is different in this respect from other matters. It is NOT! Real and applied thinking DOES help you find the truth!

  4. I would welcome an article , not specificlly about OZIL, but about WHY THIS SITE, keeps churning out Ozil articles like confetti.
    Everything that can have ever been thought , written, argued for ,argued against, discussed rationally , angrily, passionately and endlessly regurgitated into eternity, has already been done So then JA, WHY?

    1. Doesn’t it depend on readers interest? Demand and supply. They will keep coming as long as we are interested in them. Take you for example you have blessed this Mesut article with two comments already!

    2. @jon fox, I sincerely think, it’s time to change justarsenal.com to justozil.com.

      First time I read JA, I thought it’s a legitimate Arsenal hard core fans website. Who dare to give their mind and soul for Arsenal glory.

      Somehow I feel my self ridiculously idiot.

      Should we discuss more about a magnificent flop rather than carving Arsenal way for glorious football titles?

      Get over it, move on and then try to get even. Can we do that phylosophy? I have my utmost respect for FA Cup and League Cup. But, when will we win EPL or Champions League? rather being proud to qualify in CL. Some football fans complaining Chelsea’s ‘unlimited’ transfer budget. So, why did Leicester City won EPL 2016, how Ranieri tinkering won Leicester an EPL? How a lesser football structure can win an EPL? What did we do wrong, what did they do right? Etc…

      To justarsenal.com
      Can we have a constructive discussion about all of that? Is it wrong, if I want to have the same feelings like the Leicester’s fans did in 2016?
      Let Arsenal be glorious!

  5. “Mesut Ozil is a great player and a creative player, but you have to balance the team because on the defensive side of it it is not his strength”
    How is this different then?
    David Luiz, or Holding or Gabriel or Xhaka is a great player and a creative player, but you have to balance the team because on the offensive side of it it is not his strength.
    This press and defend fad will soon disappear because it is just a fad.

    1. Talent must be combined with passion and hard work. Ozil is on the lazy side. Explains why he was released by Real Madrid.

      1. Short answer: They needed money to pay for Gareth Bale. They also sold Ronaldo among other great players..
        Here are some some excerpts from Spanish news papers.
        “Don’t sell Ozil,” they screamed. The fans had come along to the Santiago Bernabeu to welcome new signing Gareth Bale on Monday,”
        “If I were in charge at Madrid, Ozil would be one of the last to be leaving,” Sergio Ramos said. And Alvaro Arbeloa added: “He said goodbye on Sunday, but I thought he was joking. Ozil is different; there is no-one else like him in the world – it’s a shame and a big loss.”
        “Former coach Jose Mourinho was also surprised Madrid allowed Ozil to leave. “He is unique,” the Portuguese pondered. “The best number 10 in the world.” Two years ago, Mourinho had spoken of building a “young team for the future” at the Santiago Bernabeu. And Ozil was supposed to be a big part of that”.
        Real were also unhappy at the German’s constant push (via his father) for an improved contract. Ozil had demanded parity with Ronaldo and, when that request was refused, asked for an additional €2m per year. He will now double his money at Arsenal.

    2. of course it’s a “fad”. General styles of play change every few years because they are shown to be more effective than the current style, then coaches come up with new tactics to counter that and so on and so on. Nobody plays with a pure 10 right now because it can be easily exploited, and until the next style of play becomes popular, pressing will be emphasized. Is Ozil, a player from a generation that is soon ending, the player to put all your eggs in one basket on and beat presses? Quite simply, no.

      1. This is just not about Ozil. Press and defend requires more stamina, athleticism and strength. Acquiring small, frail and old players like Willlian who was substituted last game can’t t hack it. Asking slow players like Xhaka to play defensive midfielder can’t hack it. Counter attacking with Ceballos that have no vision can’t hack it. On offense, we only have one player that can press and defend and that’s Lacazette. Problem is he now looks like a fish out of water when it comes to to scoring. You can’t just eliminate your No 10 and claim success. Those are on the field concerns. For the top 6 teams to convert, they need to sell and buy players because you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.. That’s a very expensive proposition no team is ready to make. So for those excited about press and defend, it ain’t that simple.

  6. Reading through the whole article, I can see that the article title is only a reflection of the bias of the writer.

  7. Am sorry to say this buh we need creativity and a good style of football not just scoring and impressing your fans by chance I give credit to MA for the changes he have made but to be sincere am not enjoying our games even with a bit pleasure simply because the game is clueless……

    1. the game look clueless to you because you believe in Arsene Wenger who was declining. .Manchester United 8-0 arsenal, Manchester city 6-2 arsenal and arsenal 5-5 Newcastle. That’s the type of football you want. .85% ball possession and we lost.
      I rather play ugly and win than playing all the possessions and get humiliated by westbrom Swansea.

      1. emnygonner, perhaps you should check your scores.
        Arsene Wenger didn’t invent anything, he just improved the status quo in such a radical way, it took our breath away.
        He’s been gone for nearly three years now and we have Mikel Arteta – who still wants him to return, in order to learn even more from the man.
        A bigger confirmation of the respect of the man you couldn’t find

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