Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski has asked Gunners fans to support team-mate Mesut Ozil through a difficult run of form, insisting that his German international colleague is is an "outstanding" player who will justify his £42.4m price tag if given time.
Ozil's recent struggles continued earlier this week against Bayern Munich, with the playmaker missing a penalty kick after winning the spot kick himself with a sublime Cruyff turn past Jerome Boateng inside the box.
The 25-year-old failed to recover from that disappointment and Arsenal stumbled with him, slipping to a 2-0 defeat after Wojciech Szczesny was sent off for bringing down Arjen Robben.
Arsenal's club-record signing has drawn criticism in some quarters for recent performances, with French publication L'Equipe grading his display against Bayern as worth just 2/10.
Podolski has done his best to warn critics that they are judging Ozil way too quickly, using Facebook to call for Arsenal fans to give the ex-Real Madrid maestro their full backing in the run-up to a hectic run of fixtures.
The German striker posted on Facebook: "Everybody is disappointed because of yesterday's result. However, that's football. It's not fair to diss Mesut.
"Critic is part of sports and this is good -but polemic is not. Picking one player out doesn't help the collective and the whole club neither!
"He's an outstanding player who will make all of us happy in future. A missed penalty won't change that. This happens to me and to every footballer. Friends stand together. So lets go! Poldi."
Ozil will have an instant opportunity to win fans round tomorrow afternoon, when Arsenal welcome Sunderland to the Emirates as attention returns to their fight for the Premier League title.
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