Crystal Palace’s manager, Roy Hodgson, has no time for people who criticise Mesut Ozil, comparing Arsenal’s genius to Jane Austen.
“What is unfair criticism?” Hodgson said during his pre-match media duties “Anyone in sport, music, the arts, in cinema has the same. They live with criticism.
“Whether it’s unfair is another matter. I was listening to a book programme the other day where they were going through the names of incredibly famous, gifted authors whose work was being dismissed as being useless, like Jane Austen.
“So, criticism is nothing new and unfortunately it is something in our walk of life have to accept.”
Is Mesut Ozil rubbish? Not according to Roy (or anyone else with a brain). “They said the same about Jane Austen’s first book and look what happened to her.
“Ozil was very good against Leicester. Plans to combat him? You hope your team and organisation will do that.
“Don’t forget he was bought as a top player when Arsene Wenger bought him. He was signed from Real Madrid and I forget how much he paid for him but it was an awful lot of money.
“You expect him to be that good and unfortunately that is how he is playing and does not help us.
“I would like him to come here in bad form.”
Hodgson goes into Sunday’s game looking for his first Premier League victory over the Arsenal for 10 years while Arsenal are looking to extend their winning run to 12.
Palace have only scored three goals in their last eight Premier League matches in contrast to Arsenal who have found the back of the net 22 times in their nine Premier League games so far this season. The game, had Wenger still been in charge, seems set up perfectly for an ‘unexpected’ Palace win. With Emery in charge, however, those fears are less tangible.
Ozil was rested on Thursday night so is likely to be fresh and firing at Selhurst Park while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who has the best minutes-to-goal ratio in the competition’s history, scoring a Premier League goal, on average, every 104.6 minutes, – is likely to be back on the bench.
Arsenal have already scored six goals via their subs this season, more than anyone else. With Auba usually amongst them, that’s no surprise.
Ozil, meanwhile, has faced the Eagles eight times, winning six but creating just two assists during those games. The smart money is on him improving that record on Sunday.