When Arsenal fans see that Michael Owen has been talking about Arsenal, we do not exactly hold our breaths waiting for a stream of praise. This is the so-called football expert who predicts that the Gunners will drop out of the top four at the start of every season after all but he did play for two of our main rivals in Liverpool and Man United so maybe we should not be too surprised.
His latest take on us was his claim, made before we comfortably beat his beloved Merseysiders on Saturday, that Raheem Sterling was a better player than our German World Cup winner Mesut Ozil. Even after Ozil scored and starred against Liverpool and after he was torn to pieces by outspoken Arsenal fan Piers Morgan for his views (a rare occasion when I warmed to Piers), Owen has stuck by his claim.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the former striker has gone even further by suggesting that the gap between Sterling and Ozil is so wide that we should not even have to discuss which is better.
He said, “It seems my claim that Sterling is a better player than Ozil made some headlines today. Is there a debate? Not even close.”
I’m sorry Michael but there certainly is a debate to be had on this. But maybe us Arsenal fans think too much of Ozil as he is our player. The German has had plenty of critics since coming to the Premier League so maybe there is something in Owen’s argument, although it is hard to pick at because he gives no explanation for his views.
Is it because Sterling has scored more goals? You would expect him to as he has been playing up front and that has never been Ozil’s strong point. But although Sterling has played twice as many BPL games, his tally of six is only two more than Ozil’s. And this ignores what Ozil does for the team, linking up play, making space, spotting and completing passes that no one else would and generally lifting the whole team up a level or two.
Paul Scholes admitted his mistake after Ozil was instrumental in tearing United to shreds at Old Trafford so is Owen just stubborn or does he just not see it. To be honest I think he has a blind spot with our record signing and his words about Sterling before Saturday’s game highlight this.
Owen said, “He’s better than Ozil, I think he’s probably better than [Danny] Welbeck.”
So definitely better than Ozil then but only probably better than Welbeck? Do I detect a fully paid up member of the striker’s union here, someone whose football knowledge does not match his previous talent, or just a gobby muppet? Or is he right after all?