Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned Mesut Ozil he will be dropped if it would benefit the team as a whole.
The German moved to the Emirates Stadium for a club-record £42.5million fee from Real Madrid in August, but has seen his form drop off in recent weeks after a positive start to life in England.
Ozil has failed to score and contributed just two assists in his last 10 games, his recent rut being compounded by an early saved penalty in Arsenal's Champions League last-16 first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
European champions Bayern took advantage of Manuel Neuer's penalty stop with the scores at 0-0 to go on and record a 2-0 triumph, putting them in the box seat for a quarter-final spot.
When asked about Ozil's form, Wenger remained diplomatic, but insisted he will not pick his team based on reputation ahead of Saturday's home clash with Sunderland.
"What is important is always the team and you never want to hurt any player, but you don't want to give him any favour," the Frenchman said.
"You have to pick the team who can win the next game.
"It is our job and the players' job to adapt to that and not to think too much about individual cases. What is important is the team and to win the next game."
"You have to rotate until the end of the season when you look at the challenges we have in front of us, it is vital.
"We have played at Liverpool, against Man United, against Liverpool (in the FA Cup), against Bayern Munich, against Sunderland. The players are only human beings."
Wenger has recently left striker Olivier Giroud out of his XI, and hopes the France international will benefit from a rest to come back fighting fit.
"Recently he has been a bit less fresh and it has shown a little bit in his game, but he is a great fighter as well, and has been successful until now," the Arsenal boss explained.
"The same people who asked me why didn't he play are now asking me now why I rested Giroud.
"It is part of the job to decide who plays, it's debatable every time.
"I have to live with that and I have to make my decisions with my conscience and I just make my decision based on who can help us win the next game."
|12||O. Giroud||5' 31'|
|Coach: A. Wenger|
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