Mesut Ozil is ‘easy prey’ for Arsenal’s critics, says Tony Cottee

Mesut Ozil is a tremendous player and the goals he gets for Arsenal are often forgotten according to Cottee

Mesut Ozil is a ‘tremendous’ player who is ‘easy prey’ for critics when Arsenal are not performing, according to Tony Cottee.

The former West Ham and Everton striker also believes the German could now thrive for Arsenal following Alexis Sanchez’s move to Manchester United.

When asked whether Ozil was now the Gunners’ key player, Cottee said: “I think he is.

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“Perhaps Ozil needed Sanchez to move on. There’s no doubt Sanchez was that main figure for Arsenal and I think, now he’s gone, Ozil will step up to the plate.

“He’s been given a new contract as well, which is a huge boost for him. I thought he was going to leave at the end of the season.

“He’s such a tremendous player and I think he’s easy prey if things aren’t going so well. If Arsenal are losing games it’s ‘Ozil’s not working hard enough’. I think we forget all the assists and all the goals he scores.

“He’s a top player, but nowadays you can’t just stroll around and not do the defensive side of things.”

Arsenal take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, and Cottee says Ozil has to perform if the Gunners want to upset the odds and beat Pep Guardiola’s side.

He said: “The one thing Arsene Wenger has done with his flair players is allow them to express themselves.

“With someone like Ozil, you’ve got to let him roam around a little bit. He’s a joy to watch when he’s on form.

“If Arsenal want to beat Manchester City, he needs to be on his game.”