By 90Min
November 04, 2017

Pep Guardiola has jumped to the defence of Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil after recent critics of the German international questioned his body language.

Özil has divided opinion since arriving in the Premier League, with most neutrals, and some Arsenal fans, questioning the 29-year-old's desire on the pitch.

There is no question that the former Real Madrid star has taken a long time to adapt his game for English football. However, over the last 12 months, Özil has shown that he can be a hard-working playmaker and his performances have caught the eye of Pep Guardiola.

"I admire him a lot," Guardiola said when asked about Arsenal's No. 11. "Maybe his body language doesn't help him too much, but sometimes the body language can confuse the opinions of the media."

Guardiola also touched on the opinions of pundits ahead of Sunday's clash with Arsenal, much of the criticism of Özil stemming from former players.

"For me it's tough, I accept all of you," the former Barcelona boss told reporters in the room. "But the old players now criticise new players. 

"They know exactly how tough it is working there. Players now, when they are a prestigious journalist with an opinion, forget immediately that they were there. But it is what it is, we have to accept that."

Guardiola will be keen to see his side extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table this weekend, however, Arsène Wenger's side are unlikely to go down without a fight.

The Gunners secured promotion to the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday, their b-team grabbing a 0-0 draw at home to Red Star Belgrade. In comparison, City's 4-2 victory over Napoli in midweek will give the Citizens a huge boost ahead of Sunday's clash at the Etihad.

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