Arsene Wenger revealed on Wednesday night just how badly affected Mesut Ozil was by his crucial missed penalty in Arsenal’s 2-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich. Arsenal are now on the brink of Champions League elimination but had Ozil put them in front after eight minutes, they would surely be in a far stronger position.
But Ozil’s penalty was easily saved by Manuel Neuer, and second half goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller condemned Arsenal to defeat. Ozil barely recovered from the early disappointment, Wenger admitting afterwards it had a “huge impact” on his record signing, whose confidence seems to be lower than ever.
“Yes, [Ozil] was affected by it,” Wenger conceded after the game, saying that the £42.5million man struggled to recover from the disappointment. “I think he wanted to do so well tonight that it affected him. You could see even five or ten minutes later he was still shaking his head. It had a huge impact on his performance.” Ozil did not influence the game much from then on, and was clearly harangued by Mathieu Flamini in the final minutes.
After a series of poor performances, and no goals for more than three months, Ozil’s confidence looks desperately low and Wenger admitted just how important that was. “You are always concerned about the confidence of your players because that is your petrol in the team – it is what gives them the courage and desire to play. In our job you have to deal with that.”
Wenger must know that this his long wait for the European Cup is likely to continue, and he bemoaned the decisiveness of Ozil’s miss. “Mesut missed a penalty with his style, what can I say? We needed that tonight. You could see tonight Bayern were on the ropes. We had three good chances in the first 15 minutes. And I feel to make them more insecure we needed to score that penalty tonight but he missed it.”
There was another penalty in the first half, also missed, but the accompanying red card for Wojciech Szczesny killed the game. “Unfortunately it changed completely the game, basically it didn’t change the game, it killed the game, because it was up until then it was top quality,” Wenger said. “But in the second half I think it was for neutral people boring. It was one-way traffic and the referee made a decision that killed the game.”
Wenger also accused Arjen Robben of going down easily to get Szczesny sent off. “Our keeper went genuinely for the ball, he touched Robben and he made certainly more of it,” Wenger said. “He has enough experience to know to make more of it. Overall I felt Bayern made more of every single contact and we are not used to it in England.”
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