Are Mesut Ozil’s problems at Arsenal all in his mind?

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.



  1. davidnz says:

    Yes Ozil has mind problems.
    He thinks he is playing for a team
    who never challenges for the EPL
    and always get humiliated in the ECL round of 16.
    He should realize he is actually playing
    for the best team in the world.

  2. Robin Vanpayslip says:

    I think we have to get past this myth of our players being mentally weak. Ozil is German international player of the year 5 times in the last 6 years.

    Fabregas went on to win many trophies and was the pivot of the Mourinho winning team. RVP won trophies as did Sagan as did Clichy and so on and so on.

    All those players can’t be mentally weak past and present. I think for a long time we have ignored the bigger issue that the club is mentally weak and that shows in the players while they are here

    1. Juhi McLovin says:

      Hate to be ‘that’ guy but Sagna has only won the Mickey Mouse Cup since he departed..

      Then again, if moving to City meant maintaining a relationship with mrs Sagna then daaaaamn he’s won a ton of awards!

      1. Break-on-through says:

        How did he ever pull a bird like that??$??

        Robin, Fabregas didn’t mentally take over the whole team, they have others, you need strong characters but they don’t all need to be like that. Arsenal have allot of mentally weak players, and they have very little evidence of holding any leaders. The spine is the main part, they say get that right so you can have a great base to build on. Fabregas moved to a team that had winning experience in the league as well as in Europe. He moved from a team that has the most winning experience. At a good age too, I think it’s fair to say that mentally speaking, he is a much stronger player than the 16 year old kid we relied upon.

  3. gotanidea says:

    I think mentality is not Ozil’s weakness this season, but it is the Arsenal’s system that has been affecting his performance since he joined the team. I think he would play better in teams that play with faster tempo like Madrid, Bayern and Leicester City. Arsenal’s slow tempo of football doesn’t suit him.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      Germany play a slow build up. They can turn it up when suits but mostly they are slow and precise. That is what we try to do, we used to be a bit similar, changing gears all of a sudden.

      In my opinion you can’t put it down to one thing like that. I’ve seen Ozil with the ball plenty, he’d look for Alexis but wouldn’t find a good enough pass, whilst Alexis is able to find people and score with ease. Ozil’s fans will always have someone or something to blame. And this is us talking about the area Ozil is good in. The problem I have with Ozil has nothing to do with our system or a slow tempo, it goes much much deeper.

  4. leo...fourteen says:

    I bet you joining arsenal under wenger would turn even Ronaldo to ramsey and make lewandowski like sanogo, its not all the player its 90% the coach who just loves failing and rendering the players a psychological losing ability that isn’t questioned

  5. Arsenal_Girl says:

    I have faith in Ozil
    If Alexis had scored over 20 goals last season with Ozil’s assists who knows
    This season Alexis should score over 20 but Ozil had a bad season

    Also when the most of the team plays poorly then individual performance suffers

    Again, I blame Wenger for not signing the right quality players AND bad tactics

  6. Break-on-through says:

    I think his biggest problem, and it’s related to mentality, is he’s afraid of contact. Some lads are your normal red blooded mucky face kids getting into all sorts of bother when young. Then you have that other type, avoiding scraps at all cost, more mouth than action. It’s just the difference with some people. This cannot be taught (what Ozil is lacking) it’s either in you or it isn’t. The problem with Ozil is he is severely lacking. No-one is asking him to all of a sudden become braver than brave, the effort to just try use your strength as best you can when staying on the ball, and constantly get face to face with an opponent whilst swinging a leg towards winning the ball. That isn’t asking much at all, but the difference it would make to a player like Ozil is almost priceless.

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