DER ZAUBERER – The Wizard
I aimed to have the title of this piece bear the name of one of the purest talents to ever grace the hallowed turfs of the Emirates Stadium, Mesut Özil, but I failed. This is not because I didn’t try, but I woefully failed, to find an adjective worthy enough to describe the abilities of this alluring World Cup winner for Germany with Turkish roots.
There is a gaping divide which separates the two groups of people in question when Mesut is mentioned; The Believers and The Non-Believers. This is not strange, because there has never been an individual in the history of the world, blessed with an insane amount of talent that has had ALL the people love him or her ALL the time (Some delusional people even think Hazard is better than Ronaldo, visit West London for proof); and it is no different in this case.
Football fans are fickle. That is a well-known fact and Arsenal fans, well Arsenal fans are some of the most capricious amongst the lot. An understandable situation, considering the fact that we are managed by Arsène Wenger, one of the brightest BUT most over-cautious managers to ever handle a football team. That is another topic for another day (Or visit Piers Morgan’s Twitter Page for an Episode of his daily #WengerOut Show).
For years, despite the financial predicament we found ourselves embroiled in du to the construction of The Emirates, fans clamored and wailed for the team to make World class additions to our squad. Times were extremely tough and it was until 2012, before a truly marquee player joined the Gooners. Ohhhhhhhhhhh Santi Cazorla. Yes the tiny, nimble footed magician joined the ranks and had a wonderful campaign. The next season, fans asked for more world class talents to be brought in, and after beating the team forever in our shadow, Monsieur Wenger with his trademark coy smile promised a surprise in the post-match conference. During transfer deadline day, the rumors swirled, and swirled and swirled, at the last minute, the greatest playmaker Europe had seen in the last five or so seasons joined the red and white army of Arsenal.
Fans nowadays expect world class players to basically run around the field helter skelter and dribble without end results, there isn’t much thought reserved for excellent defenders who are able to marshal the backline, read the game from afar and master the art of the tackle nor is there any reserved for players of the ilk of Özil; those who glide around the field with a silky smooth movement that defies the current hustle bustle phase football is in currently.
The manner in which he moves around the field has had many, including ex-players turned journalists who are supposed to rather have more appreciation for this player, slander him as they consider it as a sign of laziness. This despite the fact that he is usually amongst the players having covered the most distances in games.
What sets Özil apart from the rest though is one of the most basic skills a footballer needs, but which most have not honed to the elite level which Mesut has, passing. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi scoring goals with the speed of light, skills in football such as passing have been pushed to the curb with many not regarding this skill. But there are few in the world who can stroke the ball about like Özil can; Iniesta, Silva, Pirlo, Modric and Cazorla (No United and Chelsea fans, Mata and Fabregas don’t make the cut these days). But the ease with which he does it is unheard of, and if Arsenal had a striker in place that was a cut above the level of the man with great hair, Giroud, we definitely would have won the championship or at least have been in the mix, also, another topic for another day. I could refer readers to instances where the unparalleled vision and paranormal passing skill of Özil has been on full display but the game against Stoke City this past weekend perfectly encapsulated everything Mesut is about.
The Emirates, the airwaves and the Internet have almost become a bedlam where the masses constantly bay for blood whenever chances are spurned by the players. Özil who has the highest number of chances created in the Premier League this year can have assists in double figures if the likes of Walcott and Giroud tuck these away. It’s irrefutable, we have a genuine world class player who is yet to reach his peak even, despite winning the World Cup, and with confidence gained from the support of Gunners worldwide, in bad times as well as the good, the sky might just be the starting point for great things.
There is a quote on the official website of Mesut Özil which sums him up totally; “Why should I subdue the world, if I can enchant it.”