How many more opportunities should Ozil get at Arsenal? By ThirdmanJW
Because of Ozil’s recent appearance in a friendly, his first game in many months, speculation has been rife about his chances of playing for Arsenal this season. Was Arteta just short of numbers on the day, or is he seriously thinking about given Ozil another chance? In all honesty, friendlies rarely tell us anything, and he was left out of the squad again this weekend.
However, Ozil’s surprise inclusion/possible comeback, got me asking myself a question… How many more opportunities should he get at Arsenal? It is a tough answer to quantify in fairness, because one has to factor in the many different elements that could hinder a player’s performances: A new player needs time to settle in during that first season (especially when coming from another country), we have had 4 different managers during Ozil’s time at Arsenal, so each manager may give players a clean slate, is the player being used in the correct position/system, personal issues (e.g. Ozil and wife being attacked), injuries, and so on.
In regards to Ozil, I feel he has had enough opportunities, and that he shouldn’t be picked anymore. He’s been at Arsenal for over 7 years now, the majority of his playing time coming under Wenger. Although we saw the best Arsenal version of Ozil under Wenger, many would still argue that Ozil flattered to deceive even then. And Ozil’s performances have been so dead since signing his last contract, he’s pretty much been in semi-retirement over the last 2.5 years.
So only one top quality season in 7 years, for a so called “world class player” is not acceptable, especially given the financial outlay on him. Ozil’s performances over the last few years have been nothing short of embarrassing, whilst simultaneously being one the of most expensive midfielders in the world! Ozil was fading under Wenger, and has pretty much disappeared since his departure in 2018. There may be reasons why Ozil’s form has been dreadful, of which I stated earlier, but we’re not talking about the odd bad game, or a poor few months. It’s years of consistently poor performances. A player/manager should never be judged over a short period of time. It’s only over longer periods, that one can really assess their contribution.
Now to give this article it’s context, and relevance to today, should Arteta give Ozil another chance? Well Arteta already has, has he not?. Pre-lockdown, Ozil was given a clean slate, and a really good run of games, and offered almost nothing! One assist I think, and one goal, which was actually a goalkeeping error. Pretty much the same Ozil as we’ve been used to, although he seemed to be working a little harder than usual, although he was still way off the levels expected. Most importantly, we haven’t missed Ozil in the slightest post-lockdown. A couple of trophies won, some great wins, and performances against the top teams is evidence enough that we’re coping just fine without him. Even if one argues the point of more creativity with Ozil playing, the team overall will lose more than it gains with his inclusion. Ozil doesn’t have a strong work ethic, and offers almost nothing defensively, and these are two key elements of Arteta’s system. We have been very successful in the big games of late, because we don’t have any passengers. Everyone is reading from the script, and working their socks off. We would often get battered in the past against the top teams, not just because of poor tactics, but also due to many lazy players like Ozil playing.
There is the argument that whilst he’s still an Arsenal player, and the club are paying him a monstrous wage, we might as well use him, but that is flawed logic. Ultimately, it’s about performances, and will Ozil’s inclusion, help or hinder the team. As stated already, Ozil has proven without doubt he cannot cut it anymore, and has had enough opportunities to change his ways. At some point, one has to draw a line in the sand, and give others a go. Ozil has great technical ability, but if we’re only seeing flashes of his brilliance a handful of times per season, what is the point? I would pick ESR over Ozil for example. At least he’s an unknown quantity, whereas we all know we’re guaranteed lackluster performances from Ozil. It does seem that some fans feel that Ozil deserves unlimited chances, which again is very flawed logic. That’s basically saying that performances are irrelevant. How does that benefit the team? Many had that attitude with Wenger, and look how badly that turned out for Arsenal. Another reason to leave Ozil out, is the PR headache that surrounds a big-name player like him. Cutting him out completely is better in the long run, rather than having him in and out of the team, and then dealing with the fallout from the constant press speculation, if he doesn’t play each and every game, or if he gets subbed. It worked post-lockdown. At first it was big news, before slowing dissipating. Eventually we got used to no Ozil.
I should finally add, there could still be some hope for Ozil. Just because his Arsenal career has been over for years, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is completely finished as a player, should he move on to another club. There are countless examples of players flopping at one club, then hitting form at another. Just look at how the likes of KDB, Salah, and Lukaku improved after leaving Chelsea. Given Ozil’s age, the fact he’s super rich, is retired internationally, and has won the World Cup, I feel he has no motivation to up his game, and that he’s definitely finished at the highest level though. The EPL seems too much for him as well. That said, I am sure if Ozil moved to an easier league, at a smaller club, playing regularly, he would rediscover some form. With a club’s backing, and full support of a fanbase, we may still see some quality from Ozil, but one thing is for sure, that quality will not be seen at Arsenal…whether he plays or not!