Mentality has been Ozil’s weakness this season!
Mesut Ozil hasn’t had the easiest of seasons, but the criticisms have been put upon himself through his own performances. Inconsistent performances have seen him fall out of favour in the starting eleven, whilst niggling injures have also played their role.
Ozil reportedly had a bit of a ‘bust up’ with Arsene Wenger a few weeks back, after the midfielder withdrew himself from a match day squad over injury concerns. He then decided to travel with the German national squad for friendly internationals.
The German has struggled with form all season and has been made to feel like the scapegoat of the squad this season. Ozil has certainly struggled under the subdued pressure and the criticisms from the fans and the media seem to be getting all too much for the player.
This isn’t the first time that Ozil has been heavily criticised for his performances in England. In fact he’s had many inconsistent patches since coming to the Premier League in 2013. It has been made well aware that he has a knack for not turning up for the big games and often being a man on the sidelines, despite the big price tag the Gunners paid for him. There’s so much expectation on the German international, simply because he should be regarded as a top class player. But when the player isn’t turning up and putting in the performances expected from him, pressure from the fans will quickly build up.
Ozil’s former international teammate, Michael Ballack has been speaking about Ozil this week and suggests that whilst he should be considered as one of the very best players, his biggest weakness is dealing with the critical media attention and pressure from the fans. Ballack said in a Sky Sports report: “He is one of the best players in the world at the moment.He has a great left foot, a great touch, a good view for the game, combined with his speed with the ball especially. He can have a huge influence on the game and can change games.”
“What he can improve is mentally how he deals with certain situations, as if he feels comfortable on the pitch, then he is one of the best players in the world. But everyone has difficult situations in the game where you get criticism and you have to go through that and deal with it.”
Ballack therefore feels that Ozil’s biggest issue is his mental approach towards playing the game, both on the pitch and off it. On the pitch, Ozil can often go missing during the big matches, almost as if when faced against some of the biggest names, Ozil suddenly falls into the shadows. Mentally, this approach means that Ozil cannot have the same kind of impact that he has against the ‘smaller opposition’ and he resultantly he receives further criticism for his gameplay.
Off the pitch, Ozil doesn’t seem to be able to cope with being in the media’s spotlight. It’s a well known fact that the German doesn’t like media interviews, and as a result we rarely see the player speaking outside of a post match press conference. He instead prefers to live a quiet life away from the pitch and has quoted in the past how he enjoys the British culture of people keeping themselves to themselves on a day to day basis. It’s a fair decision from Ozil and one that probably a lot of players also desire; however when he comes under criticism in the media, Ozil finds it difficult to make a statement and as a result struggles with the pressure from behind the scenes.
Like Alexis, Ozil is entering the final year of his contract with the Gunners and negotiations will reportedly re-commence in the summer. I think it’s likely that Ozil will commit to a new deal with the Gunners; but as Ballack says, he has to work on his mental approach on towards life at Arsenal, otherwise he may soon begin to consider his future to lie elsewhere.