Arsenal are undergoing a familiar post-mortem following their harrowing 5-1 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Thursday evening.
Barring the unlikeliest of comebacks in the reverse fixture on 8 March, the Gunners are all but certain to bow out at the first stage in the knockout phase of the competition for the seventh consecutive season.
In the wake of the latest unacceptable performance from his players, Arsene Wenger has never been under more pressure during his 21-year tenure at the north London club.
The Frenchman’s ability to motivate his men has seemingly waned over the course of the campaign, with key individuals failing to haul the team out of their current rut.
Mesut Ozil has come under fire more than most of late, not least due to several lethargic attempts to close down opponents within a few yards during the humiliating loss.
While Arsenal fans are too riled up to spare the man who is meant to be their star playmaker from chastisement, his agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, believes his client is being made a scapegoat for the Gunners’ woes.
"Bayern had 74 percent possession," he told the BBC.
"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.”
Incredibly, the German creator completed the same amount of passes as Manuel Neuer over the 90 minutes. But while Ozil had virtually no opportunities to influence proceedings on Thursday evening, the fact remains he has provided only one goal and two assists in last ten appearances in all competitions.
A reduced output in the final third has highlighted his perceived lack of defensive discipline – something his agent believes is a widespread misconception.
"I don't agree that Mesut has not had an impact on big matches," Sogut said.
"What about the win at home to Chelsea this season and Manchester United the year before? What about the games for Germany against Italy and France at Euro 2016?
"People are always saying Mesut is not fighting or tackling, that he has poor body language, but that is how he is.
"Believe me, he is desperate to succeed. If it doesn't work, he shows his anger and expressions. Was his body language an issue when Arsenal were playing well?
"He is not someone who runs around aimlessly and tackles just so everyone thinks he is fighting. If it doesn't make sense to run somewhere he will keep that power for the next run.”
He might have a point, but it is also understandable that Arsenal fans expect better when their team is in desperate need of inspiration.News Now - Sport News