‘SMALL’ TEAMS STUMPED GUNNERS, SAYS OZIL
German midfielder rues losses against ‘smaller teams’
“We dropped a lot of point against the smaller teams.” – MESUT OZIL
Arsenal fans may be celebrating their second-place finish above rivals Tottenham, but star midfielder Mesut Ozil believes that but for poor results against weaker teams the supporters could have been celebrating a season with silverware.
Leicester City may have gone on to lift the Premier League trophy by 10 points, but for Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City, this season will also be remembered as the one that got away.
Speaking yesterday at the Arsenal Soccer School in Dubai, Ozil said that it was the defeat against Barcelona in the Champions League that sparked a run of results that severely hampered the Gunners’ chances of claiming a first league title since 2004.
After a 2-0 defeat at home to Barca in the round of 16 first leg Arsene Wenger’s side then went on to lose against Manchester United and Swansea City in the league, Watford in the cup, and drop points in the North London derby.
“We dropped a lot of points that we should not have dropped against the ‘smaller teams’ and that was the point in the season where we did not work as a team,” said the 27-year-old German World Cup winner.
“Especially after the Barcelona game we were just not good enough to take a point.”
When asked how Arsene Wenger’s side could prevent that from happening again next season, Ozil said that players’ strength could be key.
“It’s a long season and a lot of things must go right,” he added.
“One of the things is players getting injured. On the other hand we have to focus on players getting stronger.”
After his best season in an Arsenal shirt where he topped the Premier League’s assist charts with 19, it has been reported that the club have offered a new bumper contract in order to keep the former Real Madrid star at the Emirates.
But Ozil insists that talks will have to wait until after his European Championship campaign with Germany. He said: “I have two years left on my contract and will be in talks with the club. Now I’m concentrating on the Euros in France.”
KING OF THE ASSISTS: Mesut Ozil set up 19 goals in the Premier League last season, six more than his nearest rival, Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen