Martin Keown has said that Arsenal cannot afford to carry Mesut Ozil following their defeat to Stoke.

No Arsenal defeat is complete without laying into Mesut Ozil.

The German is by far and away one of the most criticised Arsenal players whenever Arsenal don’t play well. Pundits and fans frequently accuse him of either going missing or not trying hard enough, all the while ignoring the good things he does on the pitch.

Like clockwork, Martin Keown gave his own negative assessment of Ozil’s performance.

“Arsenal can’t afford to carry someone like Ozil,” Keown said, as reported by the Evening Standard.

“Today, he wants to have a good look at himself because he’s not kidding us watching the game, it’s not real.

“It felt like he was going through the motions today a lot of the time and I think in the goal they concede shows that.

“If he has a quick reaction he can get back into position and help Xhaka but he doesn’t react quick enough.”

Ozil did make a mistake for the goal, but rarely are his mistakes taken in isolation. Its always part of the big narrative around him.

Meanwhile, nobody completed more passes than Ozil during the game and he fashioned opportunities for his team mates. He did the job he was supposed to do in the Arsenal team.

To say that Arsenal can’t afford to carry him suggests he’s a luxury player, but not a single player in the Arsenal squad can do what he can. Only Alexis and Cazorla are capable of being as creative, and neither are available.

That doesn’t absolve Ozil of all criticism, but it’s worth considering.

Mesut Özil vs. Stoke City – 8-19-17 from finalthrd on Vimeo.