Wenger Defends Blockbuster Arsenal Man: “He’s A Classy Player”
Ozil won the penalty himself and stepped up to give Arsenal the lead, only for Manuel Neuer thwart him as Bayern went on to record a 2-0 victory in their Champions League first leg last-16 tie at the Emirates.
While Wenger has acknowledged things will be difficult for Arsenal at the Allianz Arena, he has refused to blame Ozil for the defeat, comparing his current plight to that of club legend Dennis Bergkamp instead, who is having a statue erected outside the Emirates Stadium in his honour this weekend.
“At the moment you have to let him recover from that. I had examples before with people like Dennis Bergkamp, who missed an important penalty [in a semi-final v Manchester United in 1999] and refused afterwards to take any,” Wenger told the club’s official website.
“Incidentally, he gets a statue on Saturday, so it doesn’t take a statue away from you. Some other people don’t mind [when they miss] and do it again. It depends on how you feel and how much you want it.
“Ozil apologised after the game, but I don’t think people are shocked by the fact he missed a penalty, because Bayern missed one as well.
“He takes his penalties in an unusual way, so maybe people are a little less understanding, but everyone can miss penalties.
“Ozil is a classy player and in a longer period, class always tells,” the Frenchman declared.
Wenger also defended his decision to leave Ozil on the pitch in the wake of Wojciech Szczesny’s dismissal. He opted to withdraw Santi Cazorla instead, who had not been involved in last weekend’s match with Liverpool, while many felt that Ozil was in dire need of a break.
“I left him on because he’s one of the few players who can go far, from distance, when you’re down to ten men.
“He can go a long way with the ball into an opponent’s half,” Wenger insisted.
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