Brighton's Pascal Gross leaps to defence of Mesut Ozil after draw vs Arsenal

Pascal Gross

Arsenal's Boxing Day didn't exactly go to plan.

The Gunners slipped up in the race for the top four by drawing 1-1 away at an out-of-form Brighton and they were quite lucky not to lose the game.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave the Gunners the lead early on, before a defensive mixup allowed Jurgen Locadia to steal in and score his first Premier League goal of the season.

Solly March had the best chance to win the game in the second-half, with Unai Emery's tactics being heavily scrutinised by Arsenal fans.

Mesut Ozil's half-time substitution was baffling, while Alexandre Lacazette was also hauled off on the hour mark despite looking like one of Arsenal's brightest players.

Emery's treatment of Ozil since he succeeded Arsene Wenger has been confusing.

If he isn't convinced by the German playmaker, why keep wasting his time by including him and then subbing him out so early?

It's no coincidence that the Gunners lacked attacking threat after Ozil's withdrawal and Brighton's Pascal Gross spoke passionately about the situation after the game.

"He [Ozil] is a fantastic player, a fantastic technician," Gross told The Argus.

Ozil on the ball

"People talk about his body language. It's not like me. If you are not having the best day or my team, you try everything until the end. That's my character.

"I think he also does that but the body language sometimes - you don't have the feeling that he is.

"That has always been the thinking in his life people moan about. But the football, the technical stuff, you don't have to say anything, it's brilliant.

"Every human is different. He's had a great career with his clubs and the national team. He has done everything right for himself and his career. Nobody's perfect."

Ozil passes the ball vs Brighton

It seems even the opposition are a bit bewildered by Emery's treatment of Ozil.

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