When Arsenal made their record signing in Mesut Ozil, of all people, the vibe was incredible. He changed the entire outlook of the club. Arsenal went gunning for Higuain and ended up with the world’s most creative player, not too shabby. Roll a few months on, we’re top of the league (for some time now in case you hadn’t noticed), and now winning without playing swashbuckling football. That’s the blueprint for success in the premier league isn’t it? Win when you are losing. What’s more exiting is that we can look down upon Van Persie and spare a giggle or two. How about we concentrate on that rather than criticise our own star player? And Ozil is a star. Now, I’ll hold my hand up and admit that I’ve said he’s gone missing in games. But this whole criticism of him being a flop and rubbish is entirely misguided and daft. We wouldn’t be where we are without Ozil, both on a footballing and mental level.
Ozil might sometimes loose possession without care, most notably against City, but that’s probably because he so frequently gives and receives the ball more than any other player. It wouldn’t be surprising to find our players looking for him all the time, because quite simply, he is our best player; maybe, he’s not our current best performer, but that will come. Year by year his creativity is for all to see, and year by year, he comes out on top, beating a few very recognisable names. I’m not going to list all his stats by the numbers—apart from the fact that he’s created the most chances in Europe’s top leagues for the past five seasons. I’ll just leave that one there. It’s a nice reminder of the player we have. Flop?
I’m going to risk sounding like Shearer here, and I really don’t want that, but I see a resemblance in the way Toure plays and Ozil. No, I’m not saying Ozil is man-mountain. No, I’m not saying he’s the beast we need. But in terms of other attributes, similarities can be found. Toure shields the ball incredibly well. And so does Ozil. Not with his strength, but his sheer technical brilliance just allows him to quite literally dribble the ball at a walking pace, pushing the opposition deeper and deeper. He protects the ball for us. You give him the ball on the touchline and he’ll just walk up and down it looking bored. No player in our team, or league, handles the possession of the ball with the ease that Ozil does. Wenger’s said it himself: that Ozil’s control of the game and constant, consistent, passing wears the opposition down. A comment perhaps supported by Arsenal’s frequent second half goals? It doesn’t help Ozil’s cause that the team, as a whole, are so generous to each other. Giroud is the striker, but there’s no real constant goal scorer feeding off Ozil, the weight is all shared. A reason as to why he seems ineffective. People are too used to him assisting the likes of Ronaldo or Benzema. We score from midfield now. Ozil is like a light attracting flies, he draws three players and let’s Wilshere for example be the runner; a one, two later, and there’s a chance at goal.
Ozil has still, despite bored criticism, racked up the second most assists in the premier league, behind only Rooney. And nobody would moan if we signed that chap. And what’s with all this Hazard fest lately? Let’s stop being silly.
We have Mezut Ozil.
Photo by Kieran Clarke