The Curious case of Mesut Ozil. by Eddie
I’m sure all Arsenal fans are keeping our fingers crossed, waiting for the EPL to get off. So I just took the time out to try and dig deep into our playmaker Mesut Ozil. If you’re expecting me to dig up stats for you, sorry to burst your bubble. I’m not gonna start typing figures here, this is my theoretical observation.
When Ozil moved to Arsenal during the 2013/2014 transfer window. His transfer was one talked about for a long while because of who he is or at least who he was. We just signed the most rreative player in Europe where the likes of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi were dominating and he was our record signing. Everyone including myself was surprised and excited. We just snatched Mourinho’s favourite player at Madrid, Ronaldo’s favourite player at the time. Until today Ozil has been the only player to create the highest number of assists for Ronaldo at Madrid. So with so much to say about all that. A question I keep asking myself is “Where is that Mesut Ozil?”
Ozil adjusted seamlessly as soon as he came in to the fold. He started his Premier League career with two goals and four assists in his first five games. It was so easy for him that we were glad because his transition from Spain to England appeared seamless and quick. However, that quick start might have been the reason we all raised our expectations of him. And if you add to the fact that he was our record signing, the pressure was so high on him and i must admit it has been a series of ups and down for him.
He’s had his moments and his off moments, and most of the fans would prefer to lose him over Sanchez. But I ask – will that be the solution? No, I’ll rather lose none of them. Ozil has been questioned when it comes to the big games, that he’s invisible when we play against top sides. So we all wanted him dropped most of the times against big teams.
I found out Ozil hasn’t been just a big game under-performer, Ozil’s greatest ability is the way he links up with the players around him and helping their output. He’s done it at Werder Bremen, Madrid and for his country. This begs the question, how come Ozil kept winning ‘German player of the year’ consecutively easily? Come on – there are lots of players in the German squad who are good enough for the award.
His creativity and ability was what rejuvenated Ramsey’s and Giroud’s form at the time we got him, and still with that Giroud couldn’t convert most of the chances created for him.
So the critics about him under-performing in big matches has truth in it I’ll say. But the main perception and reason for that is, when the team struggles, Ozil struggles a lot more. It doesn’t mean he cant perform in big matches. Last season we saw how sharp he was against Chelsea with the whole team in high spirit. He linked up with Sanchez to score a beautiful goal, the seasons before that, his performances against Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City and our home win against Bayern.
Ozil has never been the player to take a game by the hand and drive it forward. At Madrid he had Ronaldo taking games and pushing the team while he was the main background Maestro. Ozil has and will always be at his best when supplemented and supported by his team mates. That’s why when the whole team seems down and performed poorly, Ozil performs worse.
When the team is in high spirits, Ozil is in higher spirits. Like it or not I believe Ozil misses Cazorla the most. Santi makes it easy and beautiful. They both flow together, they both know how to drive the team, something Ozil can’t do alone. Sanchez has been more of the creative player with eyes for goal, Ozil on the other hand needs his Santi since he’s not interested in scoring, rather he prefers creating the chances. I am also among the set of fans who thinks he should reduce this and be more selfish and develop an eye for goal. But now; does it mean Ozil is over-rated and a poor player? No!
Ozil disappears when the team is poor, and shines bright when the whole team is in high spirit. Can I remind you guys of another player like that?
Mahrez? Take a look at his performance the season he and the whole Leicester squad stormed to the EPL. Every player showed up at every match and Mahrez was the Maestro behind Leicester’s games. Fast forward to last season, they sold Kante and the whole team started performing poorly. Does it mean Mahrez of last two seasons is gone?
Now that we have a prolific striker, and Xhaka seem to be adapting well, I’m expecting both of them to form a good partnership. This partnership should’ve been Ramsey and Ozil but Ramsey is not as disciplined as Cazorla, and now Xhaka is growing to be more disciplined than Ramsey. I don’t want to lose Ozil, and I don’t want to lose Sanchez. If only, If only we’ll get Cazorla back for the full season and Sanchez stays and Ozil gets the support he needs. Guys – take it from me, we’ll fight for the EPL this season. So I think we all should stop writing Ozil off or talking about his flaws, we know it all and we know his strengths. Now we have Lacazette, all we need is Cazorla or a better CM to complete the jigsaw.
I’m hoping Wenger knows this and has a plan. But I’ve decided whatever it is we face this season, let’s not blame individual players throughout the season. Best of luck to us and the boys.