Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has leapt to the defence of under-fire Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil.
The German World Cup winner has been criticised for a poor run of form, which has seen his goals and assists tally hit a stumbling block.
Even manager Arsene Wenger recently admitted that the former Real Madrid star is not quite up to par, leading to suggestions that he might not start in Wednesday night’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
In total this season, Ozil has scored nine goals in all competitions and has produced seven assists, but he has struggled to influence matches of late.
Ferdinand, though, believes that it is unfair to place the blame solely on Ozil because the playmaker can only thrive when those around him are doing their jobs.
The retired defender wrote in the London Evening Standard:
“Mesut Ozil has become an easy scapegoat when things are going wrong at Arsenal. It’s not fair and it’s not right.
“It’s easy to blame Ozil because he has a languid style. For his game to prosper, he needs other people to be constantly running and moving for him, to provide a target. Recently there hasn’t been enough of that going on. He is not the type of player to do it all on his own. He needs his teammates to help his game come on.”
Concerns over Ozil’s form coincide with the uncertainty over the future of the 28-year-old, who is yet to agree a new deal despite months of negotiations with the Gunners.
He is in the same situation as teammate Alexis Sanchez, whose current deal also expires at the end of next season.