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By James Cunliffe
Friday, February 21, 2014
Arsene Wenger admits Mesut Ozil is still struggling to come to terms with his botched penalty against Bayern Munich but has backed the German to bounce back and likened his miss to one by Dennis Bergkamp.
The club record signing’s form has been called into question after his Champions League fluff and lacklustre display pointed to a player low on confidence, despite an impressive start to life at Arsenal.
Wenger has urged the playmaker not to dwell on the spot-kick blunder during the 2-0 defeat and, with a Bergkamp statue set to be unveiling outside the Emirates Stadium tomorrow, he drew comparisons with the Dutchman’s 1999 FA Cup final replay penalty miss against Manchester United.
“I had examples before, with people like Dennis Bergkamp who missed an important penalty in ’99 and refused after to take any penalty,” the manager said.
“Incidentally, he gets a statue tomorrow so that doesn’t take a statue away from you.
“Some people don’t mind [missing penalties] and do it again.
“Penalties are a part of how you feel – how much you want it.”
Ozil was moved to apologise on Facebook for his miss and Wenger admitted that it is weighing heavy on the former Real Madrid man’s mind.
“Is he over it now? Certainly not. Forty-eight hours is a bit short to get over that,” the Gunners boss said.
“It’s part of the job as well, to deal with disappointments and to show that you can respond to it.
“Yes, he apologised after the game. I don’t think people are shocked by the fact that he missed a penalty because Bayern missed a penalty as well.
“He takes his penalties in an unusual way so people are maybe a little bit less understanding, but everybody can miss penalties.
“It’s his way, you accept it or not.”
But should Arsenal win another penalty in tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Sunderland, it will not be Ozil taking it.
Wenger said: “He’s never been top of the list. It’s Arteta that’s top of the list and if [Mikel] Arteta plays, Arteta will take it.”
Bergkamp was a player who took time to adjust to the Premier League, before making his mark as one of the club’s best ever players, and Wenger is in no doubt that Ozil will do the same.
“I think Ozil is a classy player and on a longer period class tells, always,” the Arsenal manager said.
He added: “I would like to take this opportunity to say how much I am pleased that Dennis Bergkamp gets his statue, for his class and contribution to the success of the club, and, as well, a forgotten quality in the modern game, his loyalty.
“That’s why I am so happy that he gets one and I wish that one day Ozil will get one outside the stadium as well and I will still be good enough to come a watch it.”