London: Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has apologised to the club’s supporters after squandering a penalty in Wednesday’s 0-2 loss at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Mesut Ozil reacts after missing a penalty against Bayern Munich. Pic/AFP.
The German playmaker had an opportunity to put Arsenal ahead in the Last 16 first-leg match with an early penalty, but his tame spot-kick was saved by international teammate Manuel Neuer. After Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off, Bayern went on to prevail through second-half goals from Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller, leaving the reigning champions in a commanding position ahead of the second leg on March 11.
“The next morning doesn’t feel better either,” Ozil wrote on his official Facebook page. “Sorry guys - it wasn’t planned that way. Outnumbered it was really hard to win against this team.”
Ozil, a club-record £42.5 million ($70.7 million) signing from Real Madrid last year, was roundly criticised in the British media following a lacklustre display in the game.
Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov suggested that the 25-year-old’s poor performance may have been down to fatigue.
Speaking to reporters as he left the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, he said: “Ozil was not (playing) at his capacity, maybe because he is tired.” However, Ozil’s teammate and international colleague Per Mertesacker believes that the former Werder Bremen schemer is still finding his feet in north London.
“We have a lot of games here in England and everyone is tired, but it is not just up to Mesut,” said the centre-back.
‘He’ll be back stronger’
“It is up to everybody to encourage and come back. During the game we all need to encourage each other. Mesut has played a lot of games and he is a massive player. “We need him at his best. Game by game, he will come back stronger.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger urged Ozil not to dwell on costly miss.
“Is he over it now? Certainly not, because 48 hours is a short time to get over that, but it is part of the job as well to deal with disappointment and to show that you can respond to it,” Wenger said at a press conference. “He apologised after the game, but I don’t think people are shocked by the fact that he missed a penalty, because Bayern missed a penalty as well.”
Wenger also revealed that the club have reprimanded Szczesny after he made an obscene gesture following his first-half dismissal.
Szczesny could face a formal disciplinary charge from UEFA over the incident and Wenger said that Arsenal have reminded the Poland international of his responsiblities.