Ozil looks ready to take the Premier League by storm
It was one of the biggest transfers in the history of our football club, a deadline day acquisition which had the whole Premier League in shock. Arsenal for once had flexed some financial clout in the market and signed arguably the finest playmaker in the modern game, Mesut Ozil.
A debut assist against Sunderland gave us all the more reason to be positive, and then a breathtaking first goal against Napoli had us almost praising a new Messiah.
Sadly, things got bleaker on the Ozil front for a period – the media began shamefully branding him a flop and scrutinised his seemingly lazy attitude – although this has been conclusively proven to be not true.
The dreaded Wenger ‘LW’ position also took its toll on Mesut and added yet more fuel to the media criticism, which seemed to be raining down on him every time he stepped onto a football pitch. It simply wasn’t the debut season we all imagined and opposition fans were often criticising Ozil as a ‘£42.5m flop’.
After becoming a world champion with the brutally efficient ‘Die Mannschaft’ in Brazil many believed that the confidence flowing through his footballing veins would improve his somewhat ‘misunderstood’ time at Arsenal thus far.
However, what we saw was a player who was suffering from fatigue, a player in desperate need of rest and subsequently his form suffered. Speaking to The Telegraph Ozil described how the physicality of the Premier League and volume of matches he had played affected him.
“I was exhausted at the start of the season. I started playing football professional football at the age of 16 and never really suffered many serious injuries. I guess 10 years of consistently playing football took its toll”
Before the knee injury sustained in the early stages of the 2014/15 season it simply wasn’t the same Ozil we had come to admire at Real Madrid. I can still remember Match of the Day commentary when he scored against Aston Villa at Villa Park, ‘boy he needed that’; things just were not clicking into place.
However, once he returned we saw an Ozil who was well rested, had clearly spent time in the gym and was ready to regain his pristine reputation.
He came back into a different team set up, Santi Cazorla was being used in a deeper midfield position and Alexis Sanchez had made the left-wing position his own. So much to the joy of the Arsenal faithful Ozil was finally used in the role which we all know he flourishes in the most, centrally.
It was no coincidence that Ozil then began to show us what he was capable of, a beautiful back heel assist for Olivier Giroud’s opener against Aston Villa and an immaculate free kick against Liverpool were just two of my personal highlights.
He began to do what he does best, moving off the ball to create space for the rest of our offensive talent, providing clinical laser guided passes and gliding past opposition players almost majestically.
His assist for Sanchez’s opener in the F.A. Cup semi-final against Reading was something truly special, a pass so obscure and perfect that you began to question whether it was humanly possible. Then came a man of the match performance in the final itself, turning away from Villa players and dropping shoulders effortlessly as we strolled towards our second consecutive trophy.
It was the final proof in my eyes that Mesut was back and better than ever. He has finally found a partner in crime whom he operates with perfectly in Alexis Sanchez, someone who benefits from his work in the shadows and goes on to produce the spectacular.
The duo are arguably the closest thing we have seen since the lethal Bergkamp and Henry partnership although they have a long way to go before they can be placed in the same bracket.
The team now seems to be centralised around Ozils brilliance a theory that Wenger surely wanted to create when he signed him, it has just simply taken a while to implement.
His pre-season form has also proved that these facts are still true as Ozil put in a brilliant performance in the 6-0 thrashing of Lyon, scoring and providing a perfect assist for Aaron Ramsey. He also managed to find the back of the net against Everton during pre-season and he now seems more determined than ever to add goals to his game rather than just be referred to as the ‘king of the assist’.
It feels as if a weight has been lifted off the shoulders of our German playmaker, the freedom he is playing with alongside the tirelessly working Sanchez and energetic Ramsey has been crucial to his upturn in fortune.
Jose Mourinho has always praised Ozil as a ‘special player’ and if it is coming from the mouth of the ‘classless one’ then it must be high praise indeed. Now let’s just hope Ozil can steal that Premier League crown away from Mourinho and silence his media critics for good.