Is George Graham right about Mesut Ozil or is he missing something?

Former Arsenal manager George Graham has expressed his opinion about Mesut Ozil and what he believes the German maestro needs to do to improve his game as we enter the final stages of the season.

According to Graham, Ozil needs to do more work when not in possession, especially with his attitude and mentality.

Speaking to Love Sport Radio, Graham said

“He’s a real quality player in possession, there’s no question about it”

“If they can just get him working a bit harder without possession, they’ve got a fantastic player.

“The modern game now you have to play when you’ve got the ball and you play when you haven’t got the ball.

“This is the modern way. He’s just got to work a lot harder with the attitude as well as the physical side of the game.

“He’s never going to fly into tackles like Graham Souness, who was excellent on the ball but was tough without it.

“Nobody expects Ozil to do that, but they do expect him, when they lose the ball, to get back into the shape the team is playing.”

It has to be said that Graham is right but only up to a point, Ozil does need to do more when he is not in possession, he is not saying anything that the rest of us do not already know.

Ozil clearly struggled initially to adapt to the demands on Unai Emery when the Spaniard took over from Arsene Wenger but in all fairness, he is trying, we can see that as each game passes.

I felt we saw a very different Ozil against Newcastle, yes, he could have been a little more proactive when Newcastle had the ball but the truth is they did not have possession that much and there was not a lot required from our number 10.

I would also suggest that Ozil knows his limitations now and that is why he is no longer sulking when Emery does not select him, he is far more accepting of the situation and when he is called upon he puts in stellar performances and that is now benefiting us more, certainly more than playing the 30-year-old in games that he is clearly not suited to.

For me, we are seeing a better Ozil than we have in a long time, when he plays he is far more consistent and far more effective, his attitude is much better than it was earlier in the season and the smile we are seeing from him when he is on the bench is a testament to that.

So, while Graham is right in his overall assessment, he fails to acknowledge the huge contribution Ozil is now making to us in his new situation, it has taken time for him to adapt but he has now and that is evident to anyone that is looking at the situation objectively.


  1. George Graham, what a sage ! At stating the blooming obvious. So Ozil needs to work harder OFF the ball. Well WHO could have possible worked that one out, apart from tens of thousands of us lot!

    1. Hi Jon, this is O.T. but just to let you know that Phil has agreed to “broker the deal” regarding our bet and I am sending my £100 of tomorrow to him.
      Will leave you to contact him regarding yours!!

      Back to topic, GG saying that any player should put in more effort is exactly what Declan referred to when he said pot calling the kettle black.
      I would go even further and say that GG couldn’t/ wouldn’t have given the effort that Ozil has been putting in since UE arrived.

      I’m certain that GG never got the reception that MO received when he was substituted against Newcastle.
      Still, it’s his opinion and, as an ex-manager, it’s always good to know he still follows the club.

      1. Too late Ken. I sent mine off to Bob W’s charity a while ago! In any case I would have never agreed to involve other people to broker our bet; that is not how I work! Slightly surprised you would do that. No disrespect to Phil personally.

        On GG as a player, his laziness as a player is of only academic interest to some of us older anoraks and has zero bearing on the Ozil debate. Though GG was, at his best, a decent player, there is no possible comparison talent wise to OZIL. And it is hardly worth comparing two definitely lazy players. Otherwise I would bring up the most lazy of all ex players by a country mile, in Walcott.

        1. Two points Jon, firstly regarding Phil.
          I did ask Phil as I actually said I would, when we agreed to call off the bet.
          This was for transparency for Philregarding his statement that he would also donate £100 and for fellow gooners on justarsenal who would be assured that we kept our word.
          After all, Phil only offered his £100 in response to our bet and I wanted him to see that we had honoured that.

          Secondly, GG would never accept laziness in a player once he became manager and this caused much amusement amongst the likes of Frank Mclintock etc etc.
          Would certainly have a hard time convincing UE to play him on a regular basis.

          1. KEN maybe i am being naive but I naturally assume we are all men of our word. I certainly am and try never to involve others in my financial affairs, other than business associates and the like, even in bets, and certainly never friends mixed with business matters; not that that is the case here( not business , i mean). I have learned a few things in my long years as we all have who are older. No disrespect at all either to you or to Phil who I both trust implicitly.

            On GG, I cant help reflecting how long Walcott would have lasted under his management; weeks , maybe MONTHS but certainly not years. Walcott had only a tiny fraction of Ozils talent as had George himself.

            1. Jon, it’s done and dusted now, so let’s move on.
              My £100 is with Phil and with his and yours, the charity has benefitted by £300.

                1. Gentlemen-a very fine gesture from you both which I will gladly match.
                  Ken-i will email in response to your earlier one to me.
                  I will also email the Willow to introduce you both and the reason as to why the donations were madeAnd a plug for Just Arsenal at the same time

                  1. i have to admit you old heads make this site feel REAL.i always come here for my post match analysis

  2. Pot and Kettle!
    George Graham wasn’t known as “stroller” for nothing. Good goal scorer and a very good with the ball but without it he went missing most of the time. As JF has pointed out previously, he was basically a skilful lazy so and so………….But he certainly knew how to set up and coach a defence, when he became manager!

      1. Sure you remember Declan, we actually signed George as a striker from Chelsea with Tommy Baldwin going the other way. Bertie Mee then converted him to a midfielder

        1. Ęxactly right, Kenny and he suceeded in making the switch from striker to attacking midfielder. George “Stroller” Graham can’t have been too bad a player, as he was a Scottish inernational when Scotland were stronger and won a European Fairs Cup and the double with Arsenal in 1970/71.

    1. Hi Declan. I am perhaps being rather mean to Goerge as he gave us our best ever defence and I have been really prominent on here in comparing Wengers general lack of defensive nous once that GG defence retired. Yes, there was the Invincible defence but that was for a short period only and the many years after that showed IMO, how little he really knew of judging or coaching defenders. To me, Wenger seemed relaxed about having a hopeless defence which I thought a sackable offence, many years before it finally happened. As for GG as a player, most fans even when he was manager, knew little about his own personal laziness when playing. Just we oldies, of course. Do you recall when we beat Spuds 4-0 at home in 1967-68 and GG was Venables best man that same morning at TV ‘s wedding? That could never happen in todays football world at top level.

      1. Got a feeling Jon that Georges’s article was written a while ago when we could all see that Mesit had to put in more of a shift, I feel he’s done that lately with the help of some harsh words from Unai and the benefits are there for all to see.

  3. Off topic
    Breaking….my trusted sources has just confirmed to me that a guy called leandro trossard from Genk has been wrapped up by arsenal….the deal has gone beyond verbal agreement because the player is so keen on joining emery and ARSENAL. As for now the fee remains hidden but my sources say it could be around 22m-30m…………to be honest i don’t know much about this guy but people who know him can explain better…but the deal has been wrapped up….first summer signing secretly in the bag.. Bravo Arsenal though!

        1. Yea can’t wait Sue watched them again last week with the kids ,he’s so funny without trying to be .GOT 1st though ?
          I watched derek as well after watching afterlife that was hilarious too .
          Now on to extras also on Netflix

    1. The rumour was that Sven proposed the move before he left Arsenal.Maybe its true for now

  4. As for Ryan Fraser… sources say the interest is real because Emery likes his work rate and wants another winger after trossard but sanhelli wants Bournemouth to bring down their price from 25m

  5. oh god, and we have not even entered silly season and chiza is off blabbering already . please save me from an entire summer of this nonsense . “my sources”, i think he is talking roy of the rovers stuff here.

    1. I think he means ” his sauces”. Perhaps he was told this by the Daddies sauce he puts on his hotdogs! That bottle of sauce has more between its ears than daft Chiza! But he hopes to “ketchup” with us sensible fans one day. Some vain hope!

    2. ger burke, how you been mate? Haven’t seen you post for a while. My offer still stands about the programmes and hand books from the past. Pat at administration has my permission to give you my email address. Please get in touch.

      1. hey kenny, all good here my dear friend. i dont always be on, i have to give my eyes a good rest for most off the time, even though i have a reader app on my desktop.i am really enjoying the reemergance of our great team, real happy times again . long may it keep up.seems like we all have that belief in us again after some time without it . i have contacted mr.admin and told him about getting your email addy from him. he told me as soon as he comes back home he will supply me with your email. looking forward to it .

          1. thanks kenny, as soon as i can get the big chief to give me your email addy i will bombard you, lol.

  6. Okay okay okay can you please stop yapping and blabbing about transfers?? Lemme guess, Resources came and left, Kev came and did his own, one which we’re still trying to avoid and you’ve started yours already? Is it attention you folks seek or what??

  7. I will not sulk if getting paid 300K per week

    Ozil is not the type of CAM Arsenal need and most big European teams do not use no 10 tactic anymore. As long as Ozil is here, Emery has to accommodate him and he cannot use 4-3-3 which he often used at PSG

    If Arsenal really need a no 10, they had better search for a CAM in the mold of Thiago (

    1. gotanidea, when have you seen Ozil sulking and how do you know he earns £300k a week??

      UE had different players at PSG than he has at Arsenal didn’t he?

      Ue does not have to accomodate Ozil, if he is winning games without him…if he is winning games with him he needs to accomodate him, is that correct?

      If he needs a no.10 he’s got a w/c player already, that’s why the rest of the players and UE rate him so highly…his name is Mesut Ozil and he was MOTM just a few days ago. Did you not watch the game?

      No need to look any further, but out of interest, what would, in your opinion, Thiago cost and what would his salary demands be?

  8. Something has changed in Ozils approach of late… Hope this is because Emerys coaching and demands!

    To be fair to Ozil he did put in a very good shift in the derby and thought he was excellent against Newcastle and part of most silky bits on show!

    If we have this Oil around until end of the season I feel confident of going far in EL as well as getting into top 4.


    1. There is nothing change in him. This is the same old Ozil. He does it each season, where he has a good run of about 5 to 7 games then disappears. Or he has a good game here and there at Home against mostly poor teams then disappears for the next month or 2. Then he will have another good game or 2 then disappears, and so on and so forth.

      The best I have ever seen ozil play in his Arsenal career was last season before he signed his contract extention. From the last week of October last season away at Everton to about Start of December then he went back into the same old Ozil.

      That is the best I have ever seen him play here. The guy was unbelievable. He ran everything, was everywhere, full of energy, full of drive, Hunger etc. Omg ?, Just thinking about that period now makes my whole body shiver. At the same time gets me p!ssed off with him. Gives us snippets / crumbles / the bare minimum here and there each season and we are supposed to be grateful for it.

      He is somso frustrating.

    2. nothing has changed. We said the same thing after Leicester. If he has a shocker this weekend we are back to saying bad things about him. So let’s not jump to conclusions and say Ozil is a new man. You have to be good for the majority of the season before that can be said.

  9. I just gave up long time ago to try to make this same old point. You make it and the fan club goes into sensitive emotional meltdown. Anyone that asks more from prince Ozil is labelled a Hatter, Agenda driven, Racist, Lacks footballing knowledge, hate beautiful football and only love watching Stoke FC kind of football.

    People are dug in, so this topic is stale.

    I just hope we win as many of the remaining games we got left as possible. That is what matters to me now.

    1. Goonster, a little bit like Iwobi don’t you think?
      As you say, let’s just win the last seven games in the PL, the last five games in the EC and EVERYONE will be happy.
      That’s what every gooner should be wishing for, no matter who plays.
      I wouldn’t like to be in UE’s shoes if he leaves any particular player out and we lose though!!
      That’s when we will get the real experts telling us what he did wrong!!!

  10. John fox it was G/G wedding and vena led was the best man and Big Raddy scored in that one if my memory serves me right the first one at the clock end

    1. Raddy 7, first in the Clock End? You must have got the plot in front of the clock over the old exit. Best standing plot in the whole of the old Highbury ground

  11. Kenny yes did used to stand there by the exit for a few years someone said on here about G/G not getting an ovation like the one oil did the other night he got a bigger one when he scored the marvellous 1/2 against Liverpool in about 69 season and one goal of the season lol

  12. I just dont think Ozil is consistenly good enough for Arsenal. Even if you ignore him not working hard enough he just can’t string together a run or 10 or so solid performances like other top players.

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