After slamming Arsenal’s lack of ‘loyalty’ on Wednesday, Mesut Ozil was still supporting the club during Thursday night’s Europa League victory over Rapid Vienna.
Arsenal came from behind to beat their opponents 2-1 on Thursday in their European opener with David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring for the Gunners.
And throughout the match, Ozil – who was watching on from home after being axed from Arsenal’s Europa League and Premier League squads – live tweeted the game.
‘When I can’t support on the pitch tonight, I will support in front of the TV in London,’ Ozil said as he started his series of tweets, before following up with the message: ‘Let’s go Gunners!!!’
He then uploaded an animated video of him wearing an Arsenal shirt while typing away at a computer in an office on Twitter.
He then made a joking referencing his former Arsenal team-mate Petr Cech after he was surprisingly named in Chelsea’s Premier League squad for the upcoming season before tweeting during a dull first half: ‘0-0 so far, but c’mon lads let’s try and make sure we take a win back home with us! I’m cheering you on.’
But his live blogging didn’t stop there. After Bernd Leno gifted Rapid Vienna a surprise opener, Ozil leapt to his defence: Chin up Bro Bernd_Leno We still have enough time to turn this around guys! Come on Gunners!!’
Then when Arsenal equalised through Luiz, Ozil wrote on social media: Yessss boys! 1-1!!!’, before posting s GIF of Aubameyang celebrating after he scored the winner.
And to round things off, Ozil then asked Arsenal fans to cast their Man of the Match votes, nominating Aubameyang, Luiz, Mohamed Elneny and new boy Thomas Partey as the stand-out candidates.
Following the final whistle, word got back to Mikel Arteta about Ozil’s Twitter activity and the Gunners manager admitted he was pleased by the German’s interest.
‘It’s great,’ Arteta said. ‘It’s what I want from all the players that are in our squad. I don’t expect anything different so it’s great to hear.’
Ozil has been active on social media after he was cut from Arsenal’s Europa League and Premier League squads by manager Mikel Arteta, which prompted the German to lash out against the club.
The £350,000-a-week star spoke out on social media, saying that he is ‘saddened’ to be left out of the team, and saying that his ‘loyalty and allegiance’ to the club has not been rewarded.
He said his relationship with the supporters remained strong and would continue to fight for the club he ‘loves’ – even though he is unlikely to play any competitive football until at least January, with his contract up next summer.
Ozil is convinced that Arsenal’s commercial interests in China influenced the club’s decision to omit him from their squads.
Ozil’s inflammatory statement on Wednesday is understood to have been a reference to his infamous Instagram post last December in which he condemned China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province, which despite being quickly disowned by Arsenal still had damaging commercial consequences for the club.
China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, responded by dropping coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League game against Manchester City the following day, while Ozil’s comments were condemned by the Chinese foreign ministry and the Chinese FA.
He was removed from Chinese editions of the Pro Evolution Soccer video game and his profile was erased from the social media platform Weibo, on which he had four million followers.
Arsenal retain a significant commercial presence in China, where the club own a restaurant chain and have an official lottery partner and vehicle provider, which has strengthened Ozil’s conviction that he has been singled out.
The £42m signing started Arteta’s first 10 Premier League matches in charge last season, but has not played since May 7 and will now train with the Under 23s after being omitted from Arsenal’s first-team squads. ‘I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice,’ he added.
On Thursday Ozil sent a pointed birthday message to former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, praising him for being ‘always respectful, fair, and honest.’
Later on Thursday, ahead of Arsenal’s European match, Ozil said he would still be supporting the team, and even predicted a 4-1 win for the Gunners, with Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny, Alexandre Lacazette, and Pepe getting on the score sheet.
He followed it up with a gif of an animated version of himself in an Arsenal kit typing away at a computer, along with the message: ‘Okay then, let’s go Gunners!!!’
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