February 17, 2017 - 11:26am
Forward Mesut Ozil believes he is being made the scapegoat for Arsenal's problems, according to his agent.
Ozil, 28, was criticised again after Arsenal suffered a 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg.
"Criticism is normal if a player plays badly," Dr Erkut Sogut told BBC Sport.
"But Mesut feels people are not focusing on his performance; they are using him as a scapegoat for the team after bad results."
Ozil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 for a club-record £42.4m, and came with a reputation as one of the game's leading playmakers.
But his displays have often been questioned and the Germany international has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks.
Against Bayern, the 20 passes that Ozil completed was the same amount as home goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
"Bayern had 74% possession," said Sogut, who is Ozil's lawyer and representative. "How can someone in the No.10 position create chances if you don't have the ball?
"In these games people usually target a player who cost a lot of money and earns a lot of money - that is Mesut. But he can't be always be the scapegoat. That's not fair.
"Football is a team sport and Arsenal are not performing well as a team. Eleven players were on the pitch but Mesut was singled out for criticism. Was he the reason that Arsenal conceded five goals?
"It started before the match, throughout the week leading up to the game. People started discussing: 'Should he play? Should he be dropped?'.
"It was as if everyone knew Arsenal would not make it through and we needed a scapegoat. This is not right. You win as a team and you lose as a team."