.Mesut Ozil, Unai Emery and Arsenal by Uche
Football as a collective sport is a strange game. It has so many aspects to it that it is nearly impossible to get a unanimous decision on any one thing. When you are playing golf for instance and you underperform, obviously it is your fault. You have no teammates. It is just you. Football, however, is the one sport where an entire team can be atrocious in their performance and only one or two people get blamed for it. Specifically, people like Mesut Ozil and Paul Pogba. This is a serious matter, because until we come to grips with this problem, the same issues will continue to plague us.
Arsenal has had a lot of problems since the Invincibles were dismantled. I will not go into the details because most of us are familiar with this story. But one of the biggest problems we have right now is poor decision making. So today I want to talk about that decision making because we are struggling to create chances and win games. We have some decent players in our ranks. When you have players like Aubameyang, Pepe, Lacazette, Ozil, Tierney and Ceballos in your team and still lose to teams like Sheffield United, you cannot just blame it on talent. A lot of it has to do with decision making. For instance, how is it that virtually every Arsenal player minus Aubameyang underperforms but still gets into that team? Yet Mesut Ozil, our most creative player by a mile, cannot even make the bench? That is just poor decision making. This is clearly not about performance. It is about the money he earns. But he didn’t steal that money. We agreed to pay him that money and when we made the decision to pay him 350k a week rather than lose him and Sanchez on a free, we knew Ozil had become inconsistent with his performances. Yet we gave him that contract. And he is not the only inconsistent player in our ranks. Don’t even get me started with our defenders and goalie.
To cut a long story short, the season has not gone far. We still have time to put a few things right and perhaps qualify for Champions league. We need to make better decisions, tactically and otherwise. For a start, don’t freeze out your most creative player when no other player can do it better. That is foolish and irresponsible. If you were my boss and your idea of punishing me for ‘underperforming’ in your company is to pay me a pile of money and give me no work to do, you are even worse at your job than I am.
Ozil is going nowhere. For that amount of money, he will run down his contract and you have to pay him anyway. So, play him! At least make him work for his money and for the benefit of the team. Xhaka gets into that same team in spite of countless terrible performances and there are others like him in there. Don’t tell me this is about merit. Willock, Saka, Ceballos and others may work harder and show more zeal, still, all of them combined cannot match the wizardry of Ozil. No pun intended.
There are some things you just cannot coach. Let us use Ozil to our benefit while we have him. That is smart decision making. Look at all the chances we created against Liverpool in that Carabao cup. When was the last time we scored five goals in a game? We have got Wolves next and that is one team that knows how to bite. Get Ozil back in that starting lineup for God’s sake!
Lagos – Nigeria