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Freddie Ljungberg Talks Mesut Ozil Situation After Midfielder Booed vs. Man City

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal kicks a water bottle as he is subbed as Interim Manager of Arsenal, Freddie Ljungberg looks on during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Interim Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg has said the club will deal with Mesut Ozil internally after the midfielder reacted poorly to being substituted and subsequently booed during Sunday's 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City

Ozil, 31, looked upset as he was taken off for 19-year-old Emile Smith Rowe on the hour mark with his side 3-0 down, discarding his gloves and refusing consolation from interim assistant Per Mertesacker.

Ljungberg told reporters after the game: "I took Mesut off because I wanted some more energy in the team. How he reacts is up to him and we will deal with it later. I'm here on a day-to-day basis, but of course we want players in the right way."

The 42-year-old spoke at a press conference and said that as much as Arsenal like to have possession, he made the change because "we also need to run and tackle and try to win the ball back," via the Guardian:

Ozil has been criticised in the past for his lack of work rate off the ball. The German recently appeared to be back in good graces at Arsenal and started a seventh straight league fixture on Sunday.

The Gunners needed to show more fight across the field after Kevin De Bruyne scored twice and assisted a Raheem Sterling goal to go three up inside 40 minutes:

Henry Winter of The Times pointed to De Bruyne's performance as the standard for a balanced attacking-midfield display, stating Ozil could learn a few lessons from his City counterpart:

Henry Winter @henrywinter

Somebody at #afc should give Ozil a video of De Bruyne's work in/out of possession, creating and scoring, pressing hungrily. Ozil, by contrast, seemed disinterested/showed dissent when deservedly subbed. Ozil blessed with special technique but his attitude stinks at times #ARSMCI

Ljungberg's sole win in five games as interim manager is a 3-1 triumph over West Ham United, with the Gunners sat ninth in the Premier League approaching the halfway point in the campaign. Crystal Palace host Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday when either team could overtake the north Londoners.

Ozil's substitution against City may have reminded fans of Granit Xhaka's petulant reaction to being taken off when Arsenal drew 2-2 at home to Palace in October after he too was booed by his own supporters:

The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner is yet to score in 11 games across all competitions this season; Ozil's only assist in eight Premier League appearances came during a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton on December 5.

Football analyst Duncan Alexander attested to how minor a direct threat he has been in front of goal this term:

Duncan Alexander @oilysailor

Between them Thibaut Courtois and Ben Foster have had as many shots on target as Mesut Ozil in league football this season.

Ljungberg faces a dilemma in whether to drop Ozil when Arsenal travel to Everton on Saturday. The Toffees are unbeaten in two games under their own interim manager, Duncan Ferguson.