German teammates Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski have come out in defence of Arsenal FC midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal’s record transfer signing Mesut Ozil has come under a lot of criticism recently. The German international settled down well at the start of this campaign as Arsenal maintained their lead at the top of the Premier League table, but recently the Ozil has gone off the boil a bit and has been criticized for not stepping up to the plate in big matches. The former Real Madrid star was once again in the headlines for all the wrong reason during Arsenal’s 0-2 defeat in the first leg at home against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Ozil missed a crucial penalty in the opening phase of the game and that proved to be a crucial moment in the match as Arsenal seemingly never recovered from that miss.

But Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has come out in defence of his team mate and believes that Ozil will come back stronger from this.

“We have a lot of games here in England and everyone is tired, but it is not just up to Mesut.

“It is up to everybody to encourage and come back, during the game we all need to encourage each other.

“Mesut has played a lot of games and he is a massive player, we need him at his best. Game by game, he will come back stronger.

“It is not normal to come here and perform well in the first season over 50 games.

“Mesut is very important for us and he is a very creative guy. We need his assists and his goals, so the best is to encourage him.” – The Arsenal defender said.

Ozil, who has earlier been at the receiving end of some ear bashing from Mertesacker himself, was seen to be involved in a war of words with Mathieu Flamini during the match against Bayern, but Mertesacker has downplayed that incident and insisted that it only shows how much the team wants to fight together this season.

“It is good we encourage each other and we have to do well as a team. Talking to each other is the best thing we can do.

“We need everyone on the pitch with their full mental strength.

“Mathieu tries to keep everyone alive and that is massive for the team, so I would not assess that as an argument.

“It is good to show everyone we are ready for the fight.” – Mertesacker added.

Meanwhile, Lukas Podolski has also expressed his support for Mesut Ozil and believes that is unfair to single out a player after a defeat.

“Everybody is disappointed because of yesterday’s result. However, that’s football. It’s not fair to diss Mesut. Critic is part of sports and this is good -but polemic is not. Picking one player out doesn’t help the collective and the whole club neither! He’s an outstanding player who will make all of us happy in future. A missed penalty won’t change that. This happens to me and to every footballer. Friends stand together.” – Podolski said on social media.