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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 26, 2014

Ozil can handle the criticism, says Loew

As Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool sit at the top of the Premier League table, ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Shaka Hislop discuss the next three upcoming matches for each team.

Germany boss Joachim Loew has backed Mesut Ozil to overcome his Arsenal issues both on and off the pitch and prove his critics wrong.

Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil missed a penalty as the Gunners lost 2-0 to Bayern and has failed to score since Dec. 8.

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The Germany international's recent performances for Arsenal have come under scrutiny after he missed a crucial penalty in the club's 2-0 Champions League last-16 first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium last week.

The 25-year-old was also thought to have been questioned over allegations the car he was driving was involved in a collision with a photographer in north London last Friday night, though the incident has since been played down by his media advisor -- and Loew has backed the playmaker to succeed.

"If you're playing at Real Madrid or Arsenal, you have to live with criticism when it isn't going well. Mesut can do that very well indeed," Loew told Sport Bild.

Loew insisted Ozil -- who was voted national team player of the year by the German public in 2013 -- remains a key player in his World Cup plans having "been decisive in important qualifying games."

"I'm counting on Mesut [for Brazil], because I know that he wants success in tournaments. He's shown that in the past," Loew added.

Ozil apologised after Manuel Neuer saved his early spot-kick in the Champions League clash last week, though Wenger revealed the player was still low after this miss days later and dropped him from the Gunners squad to face Sunderland last weekend.

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