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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger defends Mesut Ozil after Gunners legend Martin Keown’s criticism

PUBLISHED: 09:57 04 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:57 04 May 2018

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the dugout (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the dugout (pic Adam Davy/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has defended Mesut Ozil after Gunners legend Martin Keown blasted the German midfielder in the wake of the club’s disappointing Europa League defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has slamed Mesut Ozil. PAArsenal legend Martin Keown has slamed Mesut Ozil. PA

Ozil – who signed a new deal worth £350,000 a week in January – was slammed after Arsene Wenger’s side were knocked out of the tournament 2-1 on aggregate following the second leg at a raucous Metropolitano in Madrid.

A Diego Costa goal blasted past David Opsina moments before half-time sealed the tie to send Diego Simeone’s side through to the showpiece final in Lyon in two weeks time.

The result puts paid to Wenger’s last hope of bowing out of the North London giants with silverware while also confirming his final match will be in Yorkshire against Huddersfield Town a week on Sunday – while also meaning Arsenal will miss out on the Champions League qualification for a second consecutive season.

Speaking after Arsenal’s exit, Keown slammed Ozil’s performance for the Gunners, claimed he would not play for the team again this term and blasted his ‘crocodile tears’ in the aftermath of the damaging defeat to Diego Simeone’s side.

Arsenal's Danny Welbeck (centre) in action during the UEFA Europa League semi final second leg at Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid (pic Adam Davy/PA)Arsenal's Danny Welbeck (centre) in action during the UEFA Europa League semi final second leg at Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid (pic Adam Davy/PA)

However, speaking after the match Wenger responded to Keown’s honest assessment saying: “I don’t agree [that he didn’t work hard].

“I think you will see that when you analyse his [Ozil’s] physical performance that he gave a lot tonight.’

“It was a difficult game, physically very intense and I’m convinced Ozil should not be now vilified by anybody because we didn’t score.

“We had plenty of opportunities in the two games. We lose as a team.

“I don’t agree with that, coming out now straight away. When you want to be listened to now you always have to be extreme. Football is a bit more complicated than that, a bit more complex.”

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