Mesut Ozil was criticised by Graeme Souness for his apparent lack of passion after being substituted in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked to have given Arsenal a 12th win on the bounce after Luka Milivojevic’s first-half penalty, but the Palace midfielder netted again seven minutes from time to draw his team level.
On his 150th Premier League appearance for Arsenal, Ozil, who was given the captain’s armband, was substituted after 68 minutes after an ineffectual display.
Ozil cut a sulky figure as he was replaced by Danny Welbeck and he threw his gloves on the ground while not acknowledging Unai Emery on the touchline.
Souness, perhaps jokingly, suggested Ozil should show that sort of passion on the field rather than taking it out on the substitutes’ bench.
“To be fair, Ozil showed a great deal of passion when he was subbed today,” he said. “That’s the most I’ve ever seen him show in a game of football.
“You’re the captain, when you’re on the pitch show courage to get on the ball when you’re not dominating. Show real passion, maybe you’re not built for it but certainly make an attempt to make a few challenges and win the ball back for your team.
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“He doesn’t do that. I’m sorry to harp on about him a bit but a man with that much talent should influence games like that.”
Emery refused to condemn his captain, though, insisting his frustrated reaction was normal.
“It is normal not to be happy,” Emery said.
“I like the players like him who show the character when we are not playing well, and when I substituted him at 2-1, usually every player wants to continue playing,”
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