Arsene Wenger has admitted that Mesut Ozil attracts more criticism than other Arsenal players, but also questioned the midfielder’s ability to handle it.
Ozil was heavily criticized, following the Gunners’ 2-0 loss to North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday.
Wenger feels the 28-year-old carries a lot of responsibility for the team and may be affected by the pressure placed on him externally.
“Just to criticise Mesut Ozil’s performance does not reflect exactly what happened on the pitch last Sunday,” Wenger said.
“I believe that recently he has put a lot of effort in. He was a bit like the rest of the team, not physically at his best.
“We gave a lot on the previous Sunday [in the FA Cup win over Manchester City], the Wednesday [versus Leicester] and we had not completely recovered on Sunday. He was one of those players.
“It’s always been like that. The big players get more criticism and his style is a bit more fluid, less aggressive but that doesn’t mean he wants it less than others.
“I don’t know [if it suits him], I’m not sure. I think he embraces the challenge of big games. Does he embrace the challenge to be criticised? I’m not sure.
“I think he did fight very hard in recent games. We looked at his physical performance and he was at a very high level. But like the rest of the team on Sunday he was below what he had produced recently.
“Ideally you want all your players to be at their best in every game, so when they don’t achieve that you are of course frustrated.
“But we know we are only human beings and that you have to accept there are ups and downs.”