Danke Vielmals, Mesut Ozil: I Blame Klopp and Guardiola For your Arsenal Demise.

It has finally been announced by the club that Mesut has left us for Fenerbahce. I am feeling both a sense of relief and sadness, and I am pretty sure not to be the only one.

What to say about Mesut Ozil that has not already been said? We know the stats (a fabulous 0.46 goal/assist per game during his time at Arsenal) and we know what he was capable of. I think if I had to describe Ozil in a few words it would be: magician, autonomous, and in search of beauty. The latter and the former put him close to the Gunner after which this weblog is named; the middle description may have been his undoing but it also made Mesut who he was. Ozil seemed always a bit loose from the group, like the team was 10 + 1. For a long time I did not see that as a negative at all: Mesut was looking for ways to serve the team with his forward passes and through-balls, to give impetus to our attacking play and for this he needed freedom, space and autonomy. Wenger was very happy with this and so were we the fans.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ozil helped Arsenal significantly with emerging from the era of club-austerity, post the move to the Emirates, and to put us back on the PL and European map. We had missed the brilliance of Bergkamp and then Fabregas and badly needed a new magician. Mesut made us play at a different level from then onwards and, significantly, his signing enabled us to attract other near superstars and superstars too: Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Pepe and maybe also young-super promising talents such as Martinelli. Big signings for an ambitious club like Arsenal are often meant to be statements of intent and I cannot think of a bigger statement than bringing Ozil to the home of football back in 2014.

As long as he was producing goals and assists nobody ever complained about Mesut’s perceived lack of work rate. Ozil delivered and many fans felt that if he were surrounded by better players he would even do better. In fact, the trio of Ozil, Sanchez and Giroud may never have looked as the best of friends but they actually all made each other better, more effective footballers. Giroud did the hold up play and made space for others whilst also scoring a shed load of goals; Ozil found him with ease, and; Sanchez was there to profit from the services of both of them. If we had had a better deep-midfield and defence in those Ozil/Sanchez/Giroud years we may well have won the league at least once. Once the trio was broken up none of them came anywhere near their previous performance levels, and I think Ozil suffered most from this separation.

Mesut will always be one of the most elegant footballers we have ever had. His vision and ability to produce magnificent through-balls, balls over the top, crosses and set-pieces made him a joy to watch. His first touch was sublime and he could pass the ball with the measurements of a top snooker player. Wenger and Ozil were on the same wavelength and highly loyal to each other. In fact, the relationship was so strong that when Cesc, the prodigal son, wanted to return back to THOF, Arsene kept the door closed and told Fabregas that he had a new son. Ozil fully met Arsene’s quest for beautiful footie on the pitch and for a long time it felt that he was the one player around which the Frenchman was going to build another all-conquering team.

So what when wrong?

I blame Klopp and Guardiola, and to some extent Mourinho. The latter had already shown, when he first joined Chelsea from Porto, what a ‘machine-like team’ can achieve. Luckily, his football was rightly regarded as hard on the eye and he had to change his approach, especially when he returned to the UK for a second stint. But then came Klopp and Guardiola and they had their teams play a very disciplined, hard working football that was both successful AND (regarded as) beautiful to watch. Both teams have raised the level of football enormously and Wenger’s approach built around the genius of Ozil simply fell behind. Something had to change.

Ozil ran as much as anybody on the pitch but these were his runs and not necessarily what was required in terms of team tactics/discipline. The independent, autonomous nr10 had to become an integral part of the machine. Arsene had to adjust his team and he needed a more disciplined approach, but he just could not get it right anymore.

And then came Emery and he wanted Ozil to play a more disciplined and energetic game, but without Sanchez and Giroud, who had left when Wenger was still in charge, he became much less successful. The magic had gone and the relationship between Ozil and Emery got worse.

The Spaniard was sacked and new-man Arteta tried hard to reestablish Mesut in the team. Initially, it looked like Mikel was able to get Ozil back to something like his best and fully on board with his plans…. then something went wrong and I rather don’t want to speculate on what that could have been. Arteta decided that Mesut did not fit into his plans anymore and I think that the main reason for this was a footballing one. Arsenal needed to move on and play a different kind of football and we are now starting to see what this could look like. Ozil could still have added value to our team but if your most prominent player does not fully buy in, or is not really able to play the required style of football and associated instructions to the highest order, then it is time to go separate ways.

It is a sad end to a nowadays long period of an Arsenal career. Mesut has said all the right things and left us in a classy way. All parties will feel a sense of a relief and both the player and club can now move on. I wish him all the best and that he can rekindle his career in his second homeland.

Danke Vielmals, Mesut, for the beauty, the gasps, the new ‘era’ and your contributions to the three FA Cup wins!

By TotalArsenal.

59 thoughts on “Danke Vielmals, Mesut Ozil: I Blame Klopp and Guardiola For your Arsenal Demise.

  • Proper send off for Mesut, TA. Yours, not the one Mesut got from the club.

    I will pop later to expand.

  • That’s indeed a very nice and elegant farewell, TA.
    It was a nice read, I agree with some arguments, but we have a major difference of opinions with regards to this sentence: “Arteta decided that Mesut did not fit into his plans anymore and I think that the main reason for this was a footballing one.” I am 99% sure that it wasn’t a footballing one, however it is not really a matter of arguments, but rather a question of believing what key stakeholders say.

    I have no intention convincing anybody. But as a minority opinion I would add Wenger (along with whoever was in charge of renegotiating deals for key players), Özil’s agent, Mesut himself, Vinai, Arteta and (most of all) China to the long list of (partially) responsible concerned parties.

    But let’s focus on the nice moments, including Özil’s farewell message:

  • 99%?! 🤩

    Cheers PB.

    I think other reasons played a part, but the footballing reason is the overriding one. He had two destinations it seems: Turkey, the sentimental one, or USA, the final countdown destination… Why did no other ambitious club come and snatch him up…? None of the PL top teams have an Ozil type anymore… It is all about the machine now, eleven hard working parts, I reckon.

  • I think you pretty much nailed it in your post Total… 😀

    Odegaard to be announced tomorrow according to Charles ITK Watts.

    Torrieira to Monaco?
    Guendouzi to PSG

    Mon Dieu….

  • Just got out of Hospital Total – after a lot of tests all is well.

    My input is that Ozil was one of the most skilled players I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch and some of his feigns and passes were unbelievable. I don’t think that any of us could doubt his skill set or his many contributions to the team – but he was never the same player two games in a row which left many fans concerned.

    Arteta seemed to want him to play a specific role and stick to it – but Ozil needed to express himself by moving away from his managers instructions and Arteta is a stickler for players adhering to his instructions – so the clash only ever had one outcome.

    His salary must also have been an issue with the other players who most likely resented how much was paid.

    Personally I loved to watch him play and I’m disappointed in the manner he ended his time with us, but he does not seem to hold sour grapes.

  • This week our competitions games run through Wednesday so I thought I would give you all time to make next weeks predictions.

    There will be a extra two bonus points for the correct score between Barcelona and Athletic Bilboa.

    ”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Crystal Palace v Wolves
    W.B.A. v Fulham
    Arsenal v Manchester United
    Southampton v Aston Villa
    Leicester v Leeds
    Barcelona v Athletic Bilboa
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • I agree with GN5 that his salary could have been an issue both within the dressing room and for other clubs to sign him. But I wouldn’t go as far as saying that none of the PL top teams have an Ozil type anymore…
    I think the Ozil-type magician with many strengths like passing, taking set pieces, through balls, key passes, dribbling with a couple of weaknesses like aerial duels and defensive contribution can be found in a few clubs. You might not agree with each of my examples, but
    – Kevin de Bruyne is an improved Ozil (with better long shots and finishing skills)
    – Bruno Fernandes is very much like Mesut, but 6 years younger hence he can press the opponent when loses the ball
    – Kai Havertz is his heir in the German team with almost the same profile (but 9 cm taller, so scores a few headers, too)
    – James Maddison plays a very similar role and manner, not involved in defending
    – Jack Grealish is also quite similar, great vision & passing execution, little to none defensive contribution
    – and finally Martin Ødegaard has the same S/W profile, similar in heights, but should be full of energy and stamina as 10 years younger than his predecessor.

    I was hoping to reintegrate Guendouzi to the team next year, so a bit less keen on the PSG sales. Especially that according to rumors there are some swap deals on the table (Guendouzi-Draxler, Torreira-Eriksen, Torreira-Golovin), and I think it would be an incompetent move to overload the team with CAM / AM(C) players. The Ødegaard loan looks an exciting and promising opportunity though, as he is young and hungry, but we should focus on keeping him and developing ESR rather than hoarding attacking midfielders.

  • Crystal Palace v Wolves= Away
    W.B.A. v Fulham=Home
    Arsenal v Manchester United= Draw
    Southampton v Aston Villa=Draw
    Leicester v Leeds=Home
    Barcelona v Athletic Bilboa: 2-1

  • Crystal Palace v Wolves D
    W.B.A. v Fulham D
    Arsenal v Manchester United H
    Southampton v Aston Villa A
    Leicester v Leeds H
    Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao H 4-0

  • TA, brilliant theory about Klopp and Pep … as soon as I read the title, I knew what you were getting at.. great stuff. You really should be writing a sport column in a major paper/website.

    PB, we almost always agree, so this is a rare one. I can’t compare Ozil with any of the players you listed…., not that they are not at his level, indeed, deBruyne and Bruno are better overall, and the top 2 influential players in my opinion…..but they don’t remind me of Mesut in any way.

    A few months ago, I watched a compilation of Ozil pre-Arsenal. In the more open Spanish league, on a team of galacticos. Seeing it reminded me how much I was in awe of him before Arsenal.

    Getting the Hell kicked out of him in England every week, no help from refs, parked buses, slow Giroud he had to adjust to, to make it all work… (even though viable in a different way, it’s still a huge adjustment)..
    Plus I always thought he was a 70 minute player max. Mourinho used him correctly, and I think Arsene wanted to get more value for the spend.

  • Crystal Palace v Wolves – D
    W.B.A. v Fulham – A
    Arsenal v Manchester United – D
    Southampton v Aston Villa – A
    Leicester v Leeds – H
    Barcelona 1 Athletic Bilboa 2

    thanks for the homage to our magician, TA
    just read bertrand and walker-peters might be unavailable tonight; if that is confirmed the saints will have a diminished side indeed (even though valery is a more than decent backup)

  • Cheers guys. GN5 has taken a break from doing previews and I have not much to add to the previous match preview, so I am just going to give my predicted line up:

    Leno

    Bells, Holding, Luiz, Tierney

    Partey Xhaka

    Saka, ESR, Auba

    Laca

  • I for one believe 100% that Ozil being frozen out was because he refused to 12.5% paycut that everyone else agreed to. That’s a non negotiable in Artetas rule book. Think about in our normal world during pandemic people lost jobs and took paycuts. For half year my variable pay was gone. My company didn’t ask me they just told us about it. There is no question of asking ok real world. We were happy we had jobs.
    The footballing reasons is a smoke screen. There were 5 or 6 players that would never be near the first team if Ozil is frozen out due to football reasons. His behaviour thereafter on gunnersarus episode reveals it all.

  • C.Palace vs Wolves…… H
    West Brom vs Fulham… H
    Arsenal vs Man Utd……. H
    Soton vs Aston Villa…… A
    Leicester vs Leeds…….. H
    Barca vs Ath Bilbao……. H (3-0)

  • Madhu, I’ve heard it was the situation with China, I’ve heard it was because Ozil couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to what Arteta required, I’ve also heard it was because of his attitude when football closed down initially and Arteta was doing stuff online with the players, apparently he didn’t do what was asked of him and returned to training undercooked, as well as the pay cut. There are probably other things that we don’t know about and never will know.

    My view is that it’s a combination of many things but my overriding feeling about Mesut Ozil is that he could and should have done more during his 7+ years at Arsenal.

    Dennis Bergkamp did it every week, Bobby Pires did it every week, Cesc Fabregas did it every week, Thierry Henry did it every week, Tony Adams did it every week and so on. Mesut did it occasionally, he was an occasional superstar but more often than not anonymous.

    He will be and will always remain for me the player that disappointed me more than any I can ever recall in my time as an Arsenal fan. He could have ended his time at Arsenal with a statue outside, but instead he’s winding his career down in Istanbul…

  • Allezkev I completely agree with you. Honestly I loved watching Bergkamp and Cesc more than Ozil. Ozil was a fancy project for Wenger. Wonder why did Real Madrid sell him and we had such a clear path for him.

  • I know Total and that’s why I avoided criticising Mesut as I know a lot of the guys on here hold him in high regard and this was a post for them and that’s absolutely as it should be, but I cannot join in as I feel that his time at Arsenal should have been different – final word on the matter…

  • Madhu the whole Arsenal, Wenger, Ozil, Alexis, Mikhitarayan saga is one that’ll haunt us for a long time yet, an enormous amount invested and some questionable management decisions has left us bruised and we are still living with the ramifications.

  • No worries, Kev. Ozil is a complex character and the Ozil management situation is even more complex. But I am convinced that he was becoming obsolete as a result of the emergence of the total machine managers. First it killed Wenger and then Mesut. Other things also played a role and the best thing to do was force a separation.

  • both kieran and auba are rumoured to be unavailable
    ainsley for kieran, marti for auba look like the obvious changes to your lineup, TA
    too obvious??

  • I agree with Madhu and Kev with the non-football-related reasons like refusal to pay-cut and the China incident. But comparing anyone to Bergkamp would be unfair, as he was so unique and unrepeatable with and without ball, on and off-pitch.

    The jury is still out on how Arsenal’s recruitment developed over time, but getting rid of players is still pathetic. I was hoping that the days when we lost Alexis and Ramsey for nothing were behind us, we sign only players that we need for the long-run, and when we need/decide to sell, we do it at or above market value. Well, it didn’t work out with Wilshere, Welbeck and Mkhitaryan, now we paid Ozil to go, and practically doing favors for Sokratis, Kolasinac, Macey and soon probably to Mustafi to leave the ship. While Mesut is an exception for different reasons the trend shows serious incompetence at the top level. Arsenal needs to be competitive, which is practically impossible when ‘depreciate our assets’ in such way and our owner is interested in a self-sustainable economic model. That’s about 60-70M down the drain which will be sorely missed when looking for reinforcements.

  • Glad to hear you are OK GN5.

    Crystal Palace v Wolves = Home
    W.B.A. v Fulham = Draw
    Arsenal v Manchester United = Home
    Southampton v Aston Villa = Away
    Leicester v Leeds = Home
    Barcelona v Athletic Bilboa = 3-1

  • PB, I get your point about Bergkamp and if it was just about talent then you would be 100% correct, but it’s about more than just talent, it’s about commitment, attitude, pride in your performance, a winning mentality and many other things I could mention and Mesut was the classic example of having a God given talent but lacking a few of those I mentioned…

    Yes Total, that is a great point about the change in how the game is played, but all those I mentioned and most of the Invincible era would and could have adapted and it’s not totally new, nothing ever is it’s just given a new sexy name and everyone goes wow, a new way to play and you know what, someone will come out with a new way to counter the pressing game and around we go on the carousel.

  • Good point, Kev. He was not able to adapt, at least not to the required level.

    Re Bergkamp, he was not able or willing, or both, to adapt to Inter’s catanacio football and became only happy again under Wengerball. I am not sure he woul have adjusted to Mourinho ball either, had he been sold to the Chavs.

    I think Mesut saw himself as an artist among house painters. He did the decoration but Arteta wanted him to also cover the walls and prepare the paint whilst spreading the job of decoration to a number of painters. That is how it goes at Pool and Citeh, the total machine teams ⚽💪

  • No Auba then, LeG. So yes Marti for him. I expect Tierney to play, if not then it could be either AMN, Soares or… Gabriel. I know who you would prefer 😁😁

  • OK, Kev, you’ve convinced me on the Berkamp-Ozil discrepancy, but nevertheless the combination of sheer talent, commitment (to tactics & teammates) and loyalty (to the club), is practically impossible to come by these days.

  • “The occasional superstar”. That captured his time at Arsenal perfectly. Nice phrase, Kev.

  • Reported line-up and formation (could be wrong):

    ————Lacazette————
    –Pepe–Smith-Rowe–Saka–
    ———Xhaka–Partey———
    Soares-Luiz-Holding-Bellerin
    —————Leno—————

  • your lineup confirmed by the club site, pb
    life in PL without kieran, episode 2 – cedric it will be; i didn’t find him that poor saturday, if he had done better with the opportunity he had in the 1st half, he’d have had a good game
    i secretly hoped reiss and/or folarin on the gamesheet … wishful thinking it turned out to be
    COYG – feeling tense tbh

  • I’m optimistic, Le Gall.
    It will be beneficial having a left-footed player on the left, even if Pepe is rather a right winger by trade.
    I think this is a very strong line-up taken into consideration that Tierney is unavailable, and Gabriel is yet to regain his full fitness and confidence. We will have our revenge for the 2 lost games this season. 🙂

  • Let’s start Pepe. So he can do a Mustafi and watch, flat-footed as his man scores. Yay Pepe!

  • we’re massive
    great assist by laca, i hoped he’d pull out something like this to get back on track
    bukayo being bukayo, what else can i say
    i loved granit’s classy touch at the start, that’s what really triggered the whole thing
    COYG

  • thrilling, isn’t it ?
    not everything’s perfect, but there was soul in everything we did – what more can a fan ask
    there was quality too, it was needed because they’re a good side, well-organized, well-drilled, confident, four dangerous lads upfront and two excellent backup full-backs, to have wounded them as we did is already an achievement
    assit/pre-assit, granit’s on his way to be motm, cedric’s looking like the European champion he was 4 years ago, nick-laca-pépé never go for the easiest choice, sometimes they fail, but in the end that’s how we’ve scored twice; maybe emil has to summon just a little more magic …
    well, very pleasant PL mid-season game, we dropped physically around the 20th – 25th, that’s the only worry i’m left with
    COYG

  • After the really disappointing FA Cup game against the same team, it’s a pleasure to see the Arsenal lads are energetic and determined tonight even after going a goal down. 😁

    S/Hampton are also playing well, and Arsenal need to keep focussed.

    All our players seem on-song too.

  • Xhaka is great tonight. Apparently he has the license to support the attacks, and is able to show what a balanced package he is. Would be Man of the First Half if Armstrong wouldn’t play the game of his life.
    But Walcott – whom I obviously like as a person and former Arsenal player – doesn’t make me regret letting him go so far.

  • to be shown in academies: how to pull out from the opponents’ press with a flourish
    willian-soares-saka-lacazette, i salute you

  • wonderful night
    so many positives … one thing i haven’t written a word about so far, and the media hate us so much that they’re all hush hush about it, but:
    we do have the best keeper in the league, by a mile

  • Pepe, Saka, Lacazette all had good game tonight (besides the already mentioned Xhaka). Leno was also reliable again.
    And I think Southampton played better than in the FA Cup match on Saturday.
    Pepe’s yellow card was funny though.

    Nice to have our unbeaten streak continued.

  • Cedric!
    With calm defending, and moments of panache– Soares has made his case as a backup on either side. In this attack the ability to switch the ball simply opens up the final third. Tonight and against Newcastle– we seen the best of his game. Taking pressure off of Arteta to play Tierney every match– there’s great value in that going forward.

  • What a fantastic result today! Team played the ball forward more direct and crisp than I’ve ever seen us play. What more can you say about Saka at this point, he’s truly upped his game to the next level and has to be the brightest teenage talent in the league (he’s scored more goals than every other teenager combined in the prem!).

    Also, TA hats off to your belief in Cedric and Xhaka. Cedric was fantastic today (and against Newcastle) and looks like he is coming good and should definitely start over Bellerin if Tierney returns on the weekend. Xhaka should have had two assists today!

  • Total great point regarding Bergkamp at Inter, but he was played out of position in Italy, Mesut wasn’t at Arsenal, but a nice use of words, artist alongside house painters… 😄

    Talking of great points, well done those rip roaring Gunners, 16 points from the last 18 I’m hearing, that’s top four form, or should I just calm down a tad… 😉

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