Mesut Ozil arrived at Arsenal with a widespread reputation of being that man that makes things tick, the man that delivers the killer passes to enable other players to get on the scoresheet, in other words ‘the assist king of Europe’.
But to get that reputation he has had an undeveloped scoring record himself, in fact in his first three seasons at Arsenal his record read; 7, 5 and 8 goals in all competitions. But suddenly in this campaign he has a changed style which has seen him score 7 goals in just 14 games, only just behind the 8 scored by Alexis and Walcott, and he puts that down to Arsene Wenger’s orders. “The manager wants me to score lots of goals,” Ozil said on Arsenal.com. “He sees in training that when I have a chance, the ball mostly goes in.
“When we train on finishing, he sees that I score lots of goals. He knows that I’m ice-cold in front of goal and he wants to see that in matches.
“I’m doing that now – I go forward and, while I haven’t changed my game, I’m focusing on scoring goals myself too.
“Every year he comes to me says, ‘You need to score more than 10 goals this season – that needs to be your aim because you have the quality’. I’m trying to take that on.”
Wenger is also convinced that Ozil has improved, and that he himself has aided the improvement but only by emphasising the strengths he sees on the training ground. “The main transformation we got from him [is that he] makes more runs in behind to score goals.” Le Prof said. “I always encouraged him. I convinced him that he has it in his locker to score goals.
“He was more focused on giving and looking [before] – today he understands that he can have those qualities but as well be on the end of things.
“The timing of his runs is good. In training I noticed he is a very good finisher. When you have that in your locker, you have to try to get it out. Slowly, he now realises that.
“On top of that he has a fantastic attribute of a guy who is a good finisher – he is calm. You notice all the finishers are killers. That means they keep their nerve in front of goal and he has that.”
Everyone has always known that Ozil was a world-class player, but now that he has added his ica-cold finishing to his repertoire, can he go on to become Arsenal’s Ice-Man this season?