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.