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Mesut Ozil hits back at Arsenal legends who have criticised his fitness record

first_img Metro Sport ReporterThursday 17 Oct 2019 8:38 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4kShares Mesut Ozil has made just one Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season (Picture: Getty)Ozil, however, insists his reasons for missing so many games have always been genuine, while there have been many occasions where he has played through the pain barrier to play for Arsenal.‘I get really frustrated when I miss a game through illness and people question if it is genuine,’ he told The Athletic.‘Yes, it happened a few times — usually in the winter — but what am I supposed to do? If you knew me, you would know it takes a lot for me to miss a game and I have never used sickness as an excuse. Actually the opposite.‘I played many games when I was ill or had injuries. Before the Champions League game against Bayern Munich [in March 2017], I was sick and Arsene told me I was not in the squad because of that. The next morning, the guys from Arsenal called me and said, ‘Listen, you have to come to the stadium, you have to be in the squad’. Despite my illness, I joined the squad and played the last 20 minutes.‘Most players don’t play when injured or sick — it influences your game, you can’t give everything — but I was always available unless it was impossible.’Ozil also took issue with the accusation that he is only capable of showcasing his playmaking abilities against so-called lesser opposition.He added: ‘It always happens that an ex-player stands there on TV and criticises me,” he says. “Others just continue the theme and it gets in everyone’s heads.‘If we don’t do well in a ‘big’ game, it’s always my fault. If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the ‘big’ games when I wasn’t involved? There’s no real difference. I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make the difference — I do, too — but it’s not that straightforward.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘I’m not the only player in the team and, don’t forget, some of our opponents are simply better than us. Also, what is a ‘big’ or ‘small’ game? In the Premier League, anyone can beat anyone. Look at Wolves and Norwich beating Man City, or Newcastle and West Ham beating Man United.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘So you can’t say my good performances only came in ‘small’ games because these games don’t really exist. The intensity is there in every match and often the ‘small’ teams raise their standard against the ‘big’ teams.’Will Mesut Ozil still be an Arsenal player after the January transfer window?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMORE: Mesut Ozil insists he’ll see out Arsenal contract despite struggles under Unai EmeryMORE: Sheffield United ‘fancy their chances’ in front of ‘hostile crowd’ against Arsenal, says Chris Wilder Comment Advertisement Advertisement Mesut Ozil has missed over 100 games for Arsenal through illness and injury (Picture: Getty)Mesut Ozil has hit back at his critics who claim he only performs against smaller team and have critised his fitness record.The former Germany international has missed over 100 games since his move to Arsenal six years ago from Real Madrid as a result of injury or illness.Ozil has been left out of Unai Emery’s matchday squad for the club’s last three games, while he was often omitted last season, particularly against elite opposition and difficult away matches.After he brought up an unwanted century by missing February’s fixture against BATE Borisov, Arsenal legend Martin Keown said: ‘To miss that amount of games is quite remarkable, isn’t it? 100 matches in that period. I would say that is definitely questionable. We don’t know, only the player knows.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘Is he injured, is he ill? One of the things as a player you have got to be available for selection & you want to give consistency.’ Mesut Ozil hits back at Arsenal legends who have criticised his fitness recordlast_img read more

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Raptors vs. Magic: Predictions, picks for 2019 NBA playoffs first-round series

first_imgThe Raptors enter the playoffs under as much pressure as any team, certainly in the East.Not only are they looking at a history of postseason flops, including the sweep at the hands of the Cavaliers in last year’s conference semifinals (which pushed the team to make Nick Nurse coach and let Dwane Casey go), there was, too, the blockbuster deal for Kawhi Leonard, who will be a free agent this summer. His interest in staying with the Raptors could be influenced by how far the team goes in the playoffs. According to NBA.com stats, Gordon guarded Leonard on 43 possessions in three games this season and allowed him only 40.0 percent shooting. The Raptors need more production out of their offensive anchor.Raptors vs. Magic predictionThis won’t be a cakewalk for the Raptors. The Magic closed the season strong. They defend well, and they can create matchup problems for Toronto. But they lack the experience or depth to pull off the upset.Raptors over Magic, 4-2 They’re going against the worst kind of foe — a Magic team that has nothing to lose, that was not supposed to be a playoff team entering the season and was left for dead at 20-31 before rallying to finish 22-9.NBA PLAYOFFS 2019: Full schedule | East predictionsRaptors vs. Magic: Schedule, breakdown, predictionDateMatchupTime (TV channel)April 13Game 1 at Toronto5 p.m. ET (ESPN)April 16Game 2 at Toronto8 p.m. ET (TNT/fuboTV)April 19Game 3 at Orlando7 p.m. ET (ESPN)April 21Game 4 at Orlando7 p.m. ET (TNT/fuboTV)*April 23Game 5 at TorontoTBD*April 25Game 6 at OrlandoTBD*April 27Game 7 at TorontoTBD (TNT)(*if necessary)The key playerFew players gave Toronto fits quite like Orlando All-Star Nikola Vucevic, who averaged 20.0 points, 15.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists (55.0 percent shooting and 45.5 percent from the 3-point line) in the four regular-season games that the teams split this year. He plays a perimeter game as a shooter and passer, which spells trouble for the Raptors’ elder big men, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, and will likely force Nurse to use Pascal Siakam, who is a bit undersized for the matchup, on him.The big number18.0. Leonard had an outstanding comeback season in Toronto (26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 49.6 percent shooting), but did not fare well when facing Orlando, averaging only 18.0 points per game and struggling against versatile Magic forward Aaron Gordon.last_img read more