Mar 4, 2017 07:34:55
The Germany international has come in for criticism recently and his manager has explained one reason behind his poor form
Arsene Wenger believes the absence of Santi Cazorla is having a negative impact on Mesut Ozil's form as he sees less of the ball without the Spanish midfielder behind him.
Ozil has been struggling to find his best form this campaign and has been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks after underwhelming performances against Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Wenger does not want to put too much focus on Ozil's performances, but he feels Cazorla's injury problems – the Spaniard underwent surgery on an ankle injury in December – have made life difficult for the Germany international.
"Ozil is a guy who needs possession and with possession he is a marvellous player," Wenger said ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Liverpool.
"He suffered a lot from the loss of Cazorla because Cazorla in deep midfield can get you out of pressure. He gets the ball played through to a player who is higher up and then Ozil is a player who, with the timing of the pass, with the ball at the right moment, he can always do damage.
"He had 17 or 18 assists last year, he has less this year, but especially his numbers dropped as I told you since we had less collective possession in deep midfield, provide less ammunition for the high midfield.
"But I do not want to make a debate about one player. It is not Ozil alone who will win us the game. It is a strong team performance."