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.
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.
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.
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