After stealing the show for Arsenal yet again last night with another Premier League assist before scoring himself, Mesut Ozil was quite rightly the hot topic of conversation in Arsene Wenger’s post match press conference. As reported by Arsenal.com, the boss was originally reluctant to compare the German play maker to other great Gunners.
Wenger said, “I have not seen many of that quality but I was quite lucky in my career. For me I don’t like to compare players and he is an exceptional player. I think you have to give me credit that I defended that point of view even when you were sceptical about it. What is very important is that he comes as good as he can be and he is on his way. Is there a lot left? I don’t know, but what he is doing at the moment is fantastic.”
But when the Frenchman was pushed and asked specifically whether Ozil could be compared to the club legend that is Dennis Bergkamp, he could not deny it.
The boss replied, “Yes. Bergkamp was more of a goalscorer and Mesut was more of an assist [player] but now he becomes more of a goalscorer. They are really comparable.”
Another top Gunner from the past, Thierry Henry, took up the comparison in a Sky Sports report and while he agrees that Ozil is in the same class as his former team mate, Henry has challenged the king of the assists to get his own name on the score sheet more.
Henry said, “The guy is just amazing. Finally we’re starting to see what type of player he can be and what type of player he actually is. He didn’t perform in his first seasons but he is definitely doing it at the moment.
“It’s his vision, he always puts the ball where you need it. He sees everything, and when you play with a player like that, anything can happen at any time. People were having a go at him, and rightly so because he wasn’t performing.
“The only thing maybe you can say is that in some games he is going to have to score, and if he gets into the habit of doing it, it will come naturally.
“Dennis is the best player I’ve ever played with but Ozil reminds me of Dennis too. He always does what the game wants him to do. He loves to share the ball, and that’s the best thing you can have on the field. But sometimes you are going against the game if you do not shoot when you need to shoot.”
To be fair to Ozil though, Bergkamp was a more natural striker and his game was more as a second striker than a play maker, although he was heavily involved in our creative play. And Bergkamp´s goal tally was not always great with less than 10 in five of his 11 seasons with Arsenal.
Ozil is just four assists shy of Henry’s EPL record so barring a disaster he is on course to eclipse the great man in that respect. And if he listen’s to the Frenchman’s advice on shooting more he could well score more goals than Dennis did in five of his campaigns.
So will Ozil eclipse both of these club legends this season?