Arsene Wenger has defended Mesut Ozil after his performance against Stoke.

Ozil has been the subject of harsh criticism from Steven Gerrard and Martin Keown following Arsenal’s defeat to Stoke yesterday.

The pair were pundits for BT Sport and singled Ozil out for all the usual shortcomings: laziness and body language.

Gerrard described Ozil as a “liability” and pointed out his ‘bad’ body language, while Keown said Arsenal couldn’t afford to carry Ozil, who was “going through the motions”.

Wenger, though, was quick to defend his player.

“I think he did fight,” Wenger said, as reported by The Daily Star.

“It is difficult to single anybody out. I believe we had many, many chances and personally I don’t think he deserves [criticism].”

Ozil was certainly the least of Arsenal’s worries during a game which they should have won.

Granit Xhaka’s mistakes, the lack of defending from Arsenal’s centre backs and an inability to convert chances into goals were prominent issues. Wenger has public identified each of these as the reasons for our defeat.

Ozil has always been a target for pundits in Arsenal defeats due to his playing style. No matter how many chances he creates and how much of an influence he has, people will point out his “bad” body language and laziness.

It’s a shame but it’s become the norm whenever Arsenal fail to win a game.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,