It is not easy to be a great talent and also an introvert, especially in sports – and even more so in the biggest one of them all: football. Mesut Ozil reminds me a bit of Donnie the Quiz Kid in one of my favourite movies ‘Magnolia’. Mesut, just like Donnie, is so talented and has so much ‘love’ to give but he is just not being appreciated enough, even though our new nr.10 actually knows ‘where to put it’.
Ozil is the PL Champion of the key pass; and key passes are like the Quiz Kid’s love in Magnolia: they provide others with the opportunity to be in the limelight and win for us. Every striker wants nothing more than a great and regular producer of key passes; and as we know, they are like gold dust in football.
And that’s what Mesut is all about: making others look better and play for the team. Last season’s 3.2 key passes per game in the PL makes him king of the key pass; next up is KdBruine with 2.9 key passes per game. Yet Mesut is only shared 10th in the PL regarding producing assists, with just eight of them in 26 games. To score a goal it takes at least two to tango, and, until Auba joined us, we were pretty woeful at finding the net in many a game, especially away from home.
KdB was the king of the assists last season with 16 in 37 games (Mesut did even better than that at the start of his Arsenal career). During the World Cup Ozil produced a whopping 5.5 key passes for Germany but it did not lead to any assists; the holding champions were woeful and went out during the group stage with their tails between their legs. The media and some self-celebrating DFB Dummköpfe still liked to blame Ozil for the Germans’ embarrassing exit from the WC.
Let’s face it, Mesut is also often our scapegoat when things are not going our way.
He never stops trying to find those key passes for others, to make himself available as to pass the ball to him, to create space for others and speed up our attacks, to look for the best possible way to move our game forward. That is what I love about Mesut. Yet many are so quick to criticise him when we are not winning; he is such an easy victim for our very own red and white Dummköpfe. He is not your in your face midfielder who shouts and puts in tackles to get the team and crowd going; but then who is these days?! Yet he runs as much as anybody in the team and helps out defence whenever he can. And I have never ever seen him have a bad game. Never.
Always remember, MO10 knows that he serves the team best by focusing on creating opportunities for others, and that attack is often the best form of defence for the team. This is not a luxury to have when the absolute King of the Key Pass is donning The Shirt.
With both Laca and Auba likely to play in attack and either Rambo or Mkhi (or even both) also on the pitch, Ozil has every opportunity to put last season’s disappointments behind him, and come on top again both with key passes per game AND (this time also) assists.
There is no doubt in my mind that Emery is delighted to have the master of key passes and assists in his first Arsenal team, and he will be central to his plans. Mesut has so much to give to us and we should show him much more unconditional love going forward. He signed the long-term deal; he will finish his football career at the home of football. If we stand behind him at all times, he will keep delivering for us (even if it doesn’t always ‘show’).