I am finding it hard to remember any Arsenal player taking quite as much stick from so many parts of the football media, or at least not when they have actually contributed to the success of Arsenal the way that Mesut Ozil has.
I think that there are a couple of big reasons for the stick that his critics have aimed at him almost from the start of his career as a Gunner. First of all it was the transfer fee. Every time the Germany international had failed to score, provide an assist, lost the ball or a tackle or anything, the old phrase about him being a £40 million pound plus player.
Of course you expect the more expensive players to be better but I think the price tag was harshly used on Ozil. The other reason for all the criticism is the way he plays football in a languid style. He always has done but for some reason that was picked up on when he came to the English Premier League.
However, there have been plenty of reports showing that the lazy tag is unfair and Ozil gets through as much work as almost anyone during games. And Ozil’s stats have been very good since he came back from that injury lay off last season.
The likes of Michael Owen and many others have been fairly quiet about the German recently and the only thing they had to fall back on was the perceived idea that he goes missing in big games. Well he certainly turned up in the big Premier League clash with Man United in our last Premier League outing and Arsene Wenger has challenged his play maker, in a report on the Arsenal website, to keep up that high standard.
The Arsenal boss said, “You want Mesut to score as well in a big game and he did that against Man United. When you are an offensive player that is an important part of it.
“I believe there are goals in him and in that game he has shown it.
“I think it can increase the belief and the hunger of the team. On the other hand you have to show that you can come into every game with that focus.”
The Frenchman has always been firmly behind his record signing, so will Ozil now return the favour and keep providing the goals and assists that have silenced the doubters?