Two summers ago Arsene Wenger did something we had never seen him do before: he spent record bucks on a world class player, Mesut Ozil. It was greeted with widespread cheer among Arsenal fans even though at the time, it was a signing that defied the deficiencies of the team.
He had a dream debut at Sunderland where he created a goal for Giroud. If Walcott had his scoring boots on that afternoon, it would have been a hat trick of assists for our creative maestro. He went on to have a run of good games but then ran out of steam, and suddenly £42.5m began to look like a lot of money.
He then went on to have an average world cup (by his standards) with one goal and several assists. When he came back he looked jaded, just like all the German players did. Critics went on and on about how Ozil wasn’t worth his price tag. I would like to explore this.
Ozil is one of the best, if not the best, number 10s in the world. Arsene certainly believes so, and if you no longer trust his judgement, as I know many no longer do, then trust Mourinho. The problem is that we Gooners are trying too hard to compare him to Cesc, Oscar, Silva etc etc.
What we are failing to understand is that Mesut Ozil is Mesut Ozil and at his best, he is a contender for player of the year.
Many of his critics argue that he does not put in enough effort and I disagree. Yes, he does not put in enough effort DEFENSIVELY, however when you look at his play in the attacking half, you realize that Ozil is a very hard working player. He pops up everywhere in search of the ball and in a bid to create space for his team mates. He is always on either wing or in the middle trying to look for a decisive pass.
Here is an interesting statistic: Arsenal created a total of 406 goal scoring opportunities last season. Ozil created 76 of them – a massive 18.7%. That means Arsenal were more reliant on Ozil’s creativity than any other Premier League team were on any other player.
Let this sink in a it. 76 scoring opportunities for a player many view as mediocre. I believe that what many saw as a lack of effort on Ozil’s part was really him feeling a bit frustrated. Here is someone who creates chances for fun in a team where nobody, not even the main striker (Giroud) was making any decisive runs into the opposition box.
That statistic proves Ozil did not lose his creative nous, but that the Arsenal team were not able to capitalize on his efforts. This has changed now with Theo back and Alexis in the team. Ozil is primed to step into the fore as he now has proper goal scorers to feed. He already has created for Alexis, Welbeck & Theo individually. Even giroud will be a beneficiary of Ozil’s talent.
What is even more encouraging is that with Santi’s form, he will have to fight for a place in the team. All that is left is for Arsene to bring in a defensive shield (and my first choice is Morgan Schneiderlin), and then we can really see what Ozil is made of. I for one am excited to see him back in the team and cannot wait to see him properly link up with Theo, Alexis & Giroud.
He created 76 scoring chances last season when he was adjusting to the BPL, what do you think will happen when he is back and he is playing alongside ruthless goal scorers?
Written by: Marcus