Mesut Ozil has a strong message for his critics

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Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has fired back at critics who have hounded him over the last few weeks, insisting that he is judged more harshly than other players in the same position and will continue to concentrate purely on delivering for club and country.

Ozil returned to his favoured central role against Aston Villa last weekend and the move worked wonders, allowing the German international to break the deadlock with his first goal of the season before setting up Danny Welbeck for a tap-in moments later.

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes is among the high-profile pundits to give Ozil and his languid displays a dressing down over the last fortnight, but the 25-year-old is adamant that he's used to harsh words from outside observers and has nothing to prove at the highest level.

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Collective game on Ozil's mind

In an interview with German news agency DPA relayed by The Mirror the World Cup winner insisted: "I don't play to prove anything to anybody, I play for Arsenal.

"I have the feeling that I am criticised more, that happened to me in the Bundesliga and also at Real Madrid.

"We have only just started the season (at Arsenal), we have new players in key positions. The collective game, which is something I have a lot to do with, cannot then just work well from one day to the next."

Dortmund defeat quickly forgotten thanks to Villa win

Analysts were cueing up to take a dig at Ozil after last week's 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund, one in which the playmaker struggled to make any mark on the game in a widely-criticised role on the flank.

Wenger got an immediate reaction from his £140,000-a-week talisman at Villa Park on Saturday, a match in which the Frenchman decided to shift Ozil inside at the expense of Alexis Sanchez.

The Gunners boss definitely has some tough decisions to make long-term to get the best out of a star-studded array of attacking midfield talent, with Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey all capable of playing in an advanced central role.

In the long-term though its hard not to feel Ozil's game is best suited to that coveted number 10 position, as a first-half rout at Villa Park showed.

Ozil thrives on working quickly in congested areas and combination play with pacy forwards, an option which Arsenal now have thanks to spending £16m on Danny Welbeck.

Arsenal will now hope the pair's new understanding continues to develop under intense pressure, ahead of Saturday's North London derby showdown with Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.

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