After an underwhelming performance, Gunners midfielder Mesut Ozil showed his frustration after he was substituted during Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The German was making his 11th appearance for the Gunners this season, and he is yet to score a goal. After an underwhelming display, the German midfielder was replaced by academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe shortly before the hour mark.
Arsenal were overpowered and beaten 3-0 by Man City courtesy of a first-half brace from Kevin De Bruyne and another Raheem Sterling effort.
When Ozil was substituted, he walked slowly to the touchline then appeared to frustrate some home fans, with a smattering of boos heard as he departed.
While there was no ugly confrontation similar to the one that followed Granit Xhaka’s substitution against Crystal Palace in October, the 31-year-old showed his frustration by booting his gloves up in the air before taking a seat on the bench.
Ozil had also made headlines before the clash against City, with Chinese state broadcasters CCTV pulling the match from its schedule after the player’s social media comments regarding the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang.
The German posted messages on Twitter and Instagram that were critical of China’s policies towards Uighur Muslims on Friday. Ozil, who is a practising Muslim of Turkish descent, called Uighurs “warriors who resist persecution” and criticised Beijing’s crackdown and the silence of Muslims in response.
He wrote in his posts on Friday: “(In China) Qurans are burned, mosques were closed down, Islamic theological schools, madrasas were banned, religious scholars were killed one by one. Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet.”
However, Arsenal distanced themselves from the comments on Saturday. The North London club shared a post from its official account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, which read: “The content he expressed is entirely Ozil’s personal opinion.
“As a football club, Arsenal always adheres to the principle of not being involved in politics.”
Arsenal received angry responses on Weibo, with one showing a shredded Ozil football shirt next to a pair of scissors. Others called for the midfielder to be expelled from the club.
On Saturday, the Chinese Football Association told The Paper, a government-backed news outlet, that it was “outraged and disappointed” by Ozil’s “inappropriate” remarks.
The Paper quotes an unnamed official from the association as saying: “Ozil’s comments are undoubtedly hurtful to the Chinese fans who closely follow him, and at the same time his comments also hurt the feelings of Chinese people.
“This is something we cannot accept.”