Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has slammed Mesut Ozil’s performance in the Gunners’ 3-1 defeat at the Etihad at the weekend, labelling the playmaker as ‘a ghost’.
Pep Guardiola’s City side dismantled their north London opponents on Sunday and moved 12 points ahead of them as a result.
Arsenal players received criticism for their efforts following the game, with Ozil in particular being picked out for his uninspiring display in Manchester.
And while the disapproval of Ozil was largely from supporters, former Gunners Petit has offered his opinion on the situation.
“Arsene Wenger was honest after the game, acknowledging his opponents as the superior side,” the ex-France international said in his Paddy Power column. “But in the first half, he was too shy. He was afraid of Manchester City and his team were passive as a result. I think more substitutions should have been made in the midfield area: Ozil was on the pitch, but he was just a ghost.
“Arsene said before the game on Sunday that Arsenal would come to the Etihad to attack. He wanted his team to score goals and not to defend, but in the first half he made some tactical errors that made this approach impossible.
“Firstly, it was wrong to put Francis Coquelin in central defence. Coquelin was booed by some fans midweek at home in the Europa League – he couldn’t have gone into this game with any degree of confidence. So it was a strange decision to start him in an unfamiliar position against the most dangerous attacking side in the league.
“To be fair to Arsene, he tried something different, but it was a mistake. Arsenal never really threatened City in the first period and he was forced to change his mind at half-time – which worked almost immediately.”
It is not the first time that Ozil or his Arsenal team-mates have received criticism from former players of the club, with the likes of Ian Wright previously questioning the 29-year-old’s motivation.
The attacker previously released a statement calling for those previously employed by the club to get behind those currently there, rather than picking holes in the regime.
Ozil said: “Personally I’ve had to accept a lot of criticism during my time in London. Too expensive, too greedy, bad body language, and lacking fight’. This is what people have said about me.
“Although criticism is something that all football players have to deal with, I nevertheless expected legends to behave like legends — my advice to these former Gunners: stop talking and start supporting!”