Marmite Mesut – Misunderstood Maestro


So I hear Özil is lazy. He is not passionate enough, is overrated and has a loser mentality. This World Cup winner has the biggest target on his back and that is never going to change, certainly not whilst he is an Arsenal player.

I have been thinking about him a lot today (makes a change from Big Oli G) and I felt moved to put pen to paper with a few of my thoughts about him.

He is a languid player that glides round the pitch, on his best days making the beautiful game look just that – graceful and effortless. However, he got a lot of stick for his performance last Wednesday night, as things just were not happening for him. This was said without a hint of shame at singling him out and as if everyone was on top form and that only Mesut let the side down. The only player I thank is David Ospina for not allowing Bayern Munich to tot up a cricket score.

Singled out for stick v Bayern

I’d go so far as to say that Mesut was actually in the wrong for having made the most tackles in the first half against Bayern Munich because that’s not his job. However his desire, coupled with the rest of the midfield NOT doing their job, meant he got stuck in. “Ah but stats can be deceptive” people cry. Not if they confirm your point though, eh? Therefore, do stats count or not, which is it?

His role is as a No10, so if he is not being fed the ball properly by his teammates, he cannot do his job effectively. He has clearly listened to the passion merchants and lazy journalists and worked hard to adjust to life in the Premiership. He has persevered in improving his fitness and physique, understands that he will need to track back in a way he may not have needed to in La Liga and generally worked very hard to fit in with the less technical and more physical Premier League. I am not criticising this, by the way; I am glad he has done this, as he needed to.

Has had to change since La Liga for Premier League

However, he is never going to totally change the player he inherently is and he should not – why does his body language only matter when the team loses? If we play well and win, it is as a collective and he can do his job because others do. No one questions his body language then.

He links the midfield to the forward line and if he is not getting the ball, what is he supposed to do? If he drops deep and builds, he is not in the position he is meant to be in and cannot do his actual job. There is tracking back and then there is having to persistently cover your defensive teammates who are not up to it. He should not have to do this.

Yes he is our most expensive ever player and yes he can be frustrating but a lot of the moans and groans I hear about him seem to come from people that do not understand either his style or his position.

It is also worth noting you get a different view of him at games than on TV; you get to watch him off the ball. Firstly, you get to see the work he does and the positions he gets into. He reminds me of a snooker player, always thinking 2/3 moves ahead. Sometimes his brain is too quick for his teammates and they do not see what he is going to do in time. He will need to work on how to communicate that better because not everyone is blessed with the vision he has.
Image result for ozil 2016/17
Secondly, he is always bitching and moaning on the pitch; can always see his frustration when you are pitch side. It may not be the exact type of passion you are looking for, but to call him lazy and disinterested is in itself a lazy opinion, picked up from journalists and recycled in an attempt to sound knowledgeable and be relevant. It does not do either for people that do it, I am sorry to tell you.

No one is saying he is perfect, his consistency is not what we would like and I actually think he is quite an emotional man, with a lot of passion, which is why his form suffers at times. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I get why, completely. Personally, I find him a joy to watch as you can see from the tone of this blog but even I at times want to shake him and tell him to get his arse in gear and stop sulking.

He has made no secret of his desire to be a contributor to the team, and it is this that may mean that he is never going to be, in my opinion, a game changer. He is subtle and a conductor. Well what did we pay £42.5M for I hear you cry!?!

The musicians get the credit but the conductor makes the orchestra tick – and he does. BUT – he needs his orchestra to take charge of their instruments and play them properly!

Many thanks to Carly Williamson for this wonderful guest post.

You can follow Carly @Arsenal1206


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4 Responses to Marmite Mesut – Misunderstood Maestro

  1. Freddy February 20, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    Good Post Carly.

    I think ‘lazy’ charge can be dismissed without need for explanation. He’s not lazy. Same with passion. He cares lot.

    As for the rest. I don’t find it much less stupid nor unfair to blame Ozil for not being a terrier-like midfielder than I do Giroud or Mert for not being fast, Cazorla for not being tall.

    It’s true my eyes zero in on instances when he holds off in a challenge, closes down without any conviction or, especially, when he looks so timid when the ball’s in the air.

    In order for someone to get a pass for that from me they have to offer a hell of a lot in different aspects of the game, which is precisely what he does. A hell of a lot. Glorious effective skills. A wonderful, creative, intelligent football brain.

    Quite simply, though, he needs a platform to operate from. He needs other players who are good at what he isn’t (just like they need someone who is good, or better, at what they aren’t)

    Where it gets messy or complicated is when we are playing a team good enough to make setting up that platform extremely difficult. In Bayern’s case a team so good that we are forced to try our version of defend for your lives then try something on the break. Where does Ozil fit into that?

    In the defensive stage he is basically tasked with trying to do a job- defending, stopping- someone else should certainly be able to do better; in the offensive stage he, well, he should be pretty damn good.

    In short, if Ozil is included in a defence-first team effort then you really need the rest of the team, bar a striker maybe, to be capable of a really good defensive effort. Organized, concentrated and simply good at the basics of defending.

    Against Bayern that was just about holding together first half. Even when they looked horribly superior, I don’t recall any good chances apart from a Lewandowski header. Then Kos went off and it all fell apart.

    Anyway, we literally don’t have to worry about Bayern quality apart form in champions league campaigns, but the same issues apply to a lesser degree in the prem, in tougher games especially.

  2. Victor Thompson February 20, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    Thanks for this article by Carly, Dave.

    I could refer to a lot of past matches to debate the issue of Ozil and his laziness and failure to compete. However I will simply keep to the Bayern match which appears to have created a storm and to have crystalised a common view of Qzil by many fans.

    Firstly, Wenger picked Sanchez as the sole striker with a mandate to roam wherever he wished to cause as many problems as he could. He was backed up by Walcott who is also a player who is not blessed with defensive instincts and is slightly better than Ozil in that department. The other forward was Iwobi, who is a very promising youngster who is being asked to do a job which he is not yet ready for. He is languid in his stride and in his touch on the ball, though not as much as Ozil is, but that is because Ozil is miles ahead of him in experience and skill. He does possess a good football brain which will improve as he matures.

    The defence, such as it was, was set up to absorb the pressure of Bayerns attack and their possession of the ball. It did neither. Chamberlain was the only one who tried to take the game to Bayern, but he was largely occupied with trying to cope without any assistance from Coquelin.

    The point is, that the structure of the team was not calculated to provide a service to Ozil so that he could pick openings for our non-existent forwards. He was the only one who was actually trying to do what he was there for. He was available to receive the ball but it was not forthcoming and when he did get it, there was no one running off the ball to give it to.

    For no fault of his, he was surplus to requirements and frankly Welbeck should have been on along with Giroud. I would not have played Iwobi because it was clearly not the sort of match for him. It was too physical and the Bayern defenders were much too savvy for him. He would need another two years before he reaches the level to take on a team like them.

    All in all Ozil was frustrated because he cannot produce what he is there for, if he is chasing back to do the job of those who are paid to defend. That is not to say that he should challenge for the ball when he is within reach. He is no Joey Barton thank god, and we cannot expect him to be the artist that he is, if we try to reduce him to the level of Barton. Ozil plays at a level of ability that I would gladly pay to see and which Joey can only dream about. At the end of the game ( or any game ) his face is red. His hair is soaked with sweat and stuck to his face and that belies the accusation that he does not try.

    His skill is undoubted. He is universally lauded by his German colleagues and by opposition players and managers. If he is ineffective, I believe it says more about the manager whose team selections have not been utilising his skills to their best.

    Sadly I fully expect that we are going to lose Ozil and Sanchez at the end of the season, so I would suggest that we enjoy the two of them while they are here, it may be a long time before we see their like again.

  3. James Parkins February 20, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    An example of why women should not comment about football.

  4. Tim Hargreaves February 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    Decent article, Carly. I concur with you and Victor that we aren’t utilising Ozil’s strengths, but I’ll go one further and say that we don’t have the players in place to be able to use them. Coquelin seems to only work well with consistency with Santi(unavailable), Ramsey works OK with Xhaka (missed so many games through suspensions – no time to build partnership so far) but I still feel Ramsey isn’t good enough there for us, Wilshere is out on loan, Maitland-Niles still very raw and Oxlade-Chamberlain (a winger playing as CM) is the stand-out. Midfield combinations aren’t there for us right now and Ozil is unable to play well. Like Victor, I think he will likely leave at the end of the season. I’d wish him well if he did. 2 people to blame for that if that happens – Kroenke and Wenger.

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