Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has leapt to the defence of £42.5m midfielder Mesut Ozil following criticism of his performance against Liverpool over the weekend.

The German international was singled out as one of the Gunners’ worst performers in the 5-1 hammering at Anfield, after being at fault for two of the goals conceded.

Despite having made an instant impact following his club record arrival from Real Madrid over the summer, Ozil has been accused of failing to perform in the biggest games.

Some have criticised his lack of physicality, while others have questioned his commitment to the club – whom he joined after being forced out of the Bernabeu when Gareth Bale arrived from Tottenham.

However, Wenger says that his 25-year-old playmaker is an “exceptional” talent that that he is working hard to adapt to life in a new country and league:

“He didn’t have the best of games on Saturday, but that can happen,” he is quoted by The Metro.

“He works very hard to adapt to the physical level of the Premier League and for me he is an exceptional player.

“It is always a disappointment to lose a game, but I think it was an accident because we have been very stable defensively and we have to treat it like that.

“We have just been on a 10-game unbeaten run. You cannot consider one game as the trend, the pattern of our season.

“It is an accident, not a welcome [one] of course, a very disappointing one, but a successful season is decided by how you respond to that.

“In any season you have disappointments, it is always down to the team to respond in a very positive way, that decides the success of the team.”

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