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By Amir Mir

Paul Merson has defended Mesut Ozil after the Arsenal ace came under criticism for his performance against Manchester City last Sunday.

The 28-year-old played the full match as Arsene Wenger’s side were beaten 2-1 by their title rivals at the weekend.

World Cup winner Ozil was highly criticised for the part he played in the defeat, with his manner of play and body language particularly questioned by supporters.

But former Arsenal playmaker Merson leaped to the defence of the former Real Madrid player, but did confess that he may need to do more.

“I’m a big fan of Ozil, even though I accept the criticism that he needs to turn up in the big games a little bit more often,” Merson told Yahoo Sport. “I think he is top drawer. You pay a lot of money and you get that kind of quality.

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“The problem with Ozil is he fizzles out of games and his body language makes it look like he doesn’t care at times

“He is not one of those players who runs around everywhere and stands out for his effort, but he cares, no doubt about that in my mind.”

Two-time FA Cup winner Ozil’s contract at the Emirates run out in 2018, but he is yet to sign a new deal at the club.

This has resulted in the media speculating about his future in north London, despite Ozil being one of their top performers in recent seasons.

Wenger signed the German from La Liga giants Real Madrid in 2013, paying the Champions League winners, £42.4 million for his services.

He has gone on to make 139 appearances in all competitions, scoring 29 goals and supplying 49 assists for the club.

This season he has played 22 Premier League and Champions League games, scoring nine goals and providing six assists.

He scored a hat-trick against Ludogorets in the European competition as the Gunners went on to top their group ahead of Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

The German is set to return to his homeland where Wenger’s side will take on Bayern Munich in the knockout stages of the competition.

In other Arsenal news, club legend Ray Parlour has stated why his former club won’t win the Premier League title.