Paul Merson lays into Mesut Ozil after Rennes defeat as Arsenal midfielder struggles in Europa League tie
The German was eventually withdrawn in France after Sokratis Papastathopoulos was shown a second yellow card
Paul Merson tore into Mesut Ozil in the wake of Arsenal’s crushing defeat to Rennes on Thursday night.
The Ligue 1 side capitalised on a numerical advantage in their Europa League tie to record an emphatic 3-1 win in France.
Arsenal raced into an early lead courtesy of Alex Iwobi but a first-half red card for Sokratis Papastathopoulos turned the game in favour of Rennes.
Hatem Ben Arfa, facing his former Paris St Germain boss Unai Emery, looked sharp as a stunning strike from Benjamin Bourigeaud, Nacho Monreal’s own goal and a late Ismaila Sarr header saw the hosts run out deserved winners.
In order to reshuffle, Mesut Ozil was withdrawn late on in the game as Unai Emery pushed for at least an equaliser.
But Merson believes the German is a liability and should have been taken off much sooner.
“You have got to take Ozil off,” Merson said. “Because now you are playing with nine and a half really.
“You’re not playing with ten because he is not going to get back into shape, he’s not going to get back and tackle anybody.
“So I think he probably would have thought ‘I’ll come off here’
“He doesn’t want to play with 10, he finds it hard with 11 sometimes if he doesn’t get out of the right side of bed.
“So, with 10, at least he can go ‘I’ve had enough, I’ve done my bit’.”
The second leg will take place on Thursday at the Emirates stadium where Emery’s side will need to score twice without reply to advance.
Merson told Drive he believes the Gunners will get the job done, but they have put themselves under ‘sever pressure’.