The Arsenal Affair

The Arsenal Affair

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mesut Ozil: Overated or underated?

Rarely have the lines between success and failure been so blurred as to when evaluating Mesut Ozil's  Arsenal career, some recognising his work as pivotal to the team, others demanding goals and assists by the bucket load. So where does the truth lie, Is Ozil Arsenal's selfless metronome or is he lacking the physical and mental strength needed to survive the lions den that is the Premier League.

In the summer of 2013 Arsene Wenger revealed the ace up his sleeve to be a footballer with a reputation around the world as the most cunning playmaker in the game. The 42million pound acquisition signalled a shift of gears' in the club's transfer policy, simply, this was a big price for a big player.

The man in question was the cerebral, provider of goals, Mesut Ozil, confusion reigned over why Real Madrid would let him go. Cristiano Ronaldo demanded answers, Madrid fans demanded answers, but Madrid's loss with North London's gain as Arsenal could finally compete with the cash rich Chelsea and Manchester City.

Considering the wave of optimism at the Emirates Stadium and the confidence, the arrival of a world class player can bring you, there seemed to be little that could go wrong. Ozil's bright start in a Gunners shirt did little to convince you he wouldn't go on to have a stellar campaign, goals and assists against Napoli and Stoke City displayed his sublime technique. The gunners faithful had not witnessed such technical proficiency since that of Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires.

So where did it all go wrong? It appeared when the smooth turned to rough, Ozil's head turned to face the ground as if the turf knew why he was being asked to track the run of another pacey winger. Ozil's body language suggested he felt defending was beneath him, he became an expensive liability at this point costing goals and games. The opposition targeted him, some fans voiced frustration at his lack of work rate, whilst others pointed the finger at Wenger asking why must he be played out of position? It became clear asking Ozil to do this job was like asking your milkman to deliver your newspaper. It was painstakingly evident the Gunners would have to find a way to play to his Strengths.

So why was so much expected of the German? Why was such a large fee commanded for him? His first steps  were taken with Schalke before bursting onto the scene with Werder Breman, He showed great promise in the Bundesliga and at youth Level with the National team, but it was the 2010 FIFA World Cup in his home country where he really came of age. English fans will know only too well how Ozil along with a Youthful German team exposed the holes in the Three Lions back line. On the back of this success Ozil earned a dream move to Real Madrid where he became an  executive producer on the Cristiano Ronaldo's show.


After a difficult first season with the North London Club the Playmaker consoled himself by winning the 2014 World Cup. He returned to Arsenal re-invigorated, Ozil himself admitted he was unprepared for the Physical nature of the English League, so he took the gym to build himself into the physical requirements that are demanded of him in order to improve. The Midfielder appears ready to fight and eager to prove himself and validate his reputation. A reputation founded by the words of the worlds greatest coaches, to mention a few Wenger, Mourinho, Low, Guardiola, after this list it's clear the German's talent is unquestionable.

In conclusion, it must be noted that Ozil has been made a scapegoat, his body language makes him an easy target. Whilst his Arsenal career has not been perfect it is unfair not to give him an allowance of adapting to the Premier League. What must be considered is Ozil's contribution seems to have gone unnoticed and critics prefer to beat Arsenal with the lazy Ozil stick. 2015 has seen marked improvement in the German's overall contribution, his assists and goals have been easy on the eye, with impressive alterations in his work rate and stamina,  he has become stronger and harder to dispossess, covering more ground and even making tackles, but the real jewel in Ozil's crown is his vision and ability to dictate the rhythm and tempo of Arsenal's penetrative play. Ozil has become indispensable to Wenger's philosophy and will more than likely be the conductor of any future silverware.

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