Whether he plays or not, Mesut Özil seems destined to receive a lot of stick from those who should support him – or at least from a part of them.
We all know the story, the German is lazy and not suited to our game and to the Premier League, he is a luxury player we should offload to cut the loss.
Well, the wish of many looks set to be satisfied, finally.
With only eight months left on his contract, the German is reported to be close to join José Mourinho at Manchester United, for free – unless the Club decides to sell in January to an overseas Club; usual reports have emerged about Arsène Wenger willing to sell in January and is leaving him out of the team with a fake injury, with the final purpose of promoting Aaron Ramsey as our main attacking creator – and possibly our next captain.
Of course, no quotes or solid evidences were attached to said reports but, hey, those reporters and bloggers are “in the know”, so we have to believe.
I witnessed many supporters’ jubilation when Aaron Ramsey was given Mesut Özil’s role against West Brom, as the Welsh was finally allowed to dominate the game and be the Arsenal’s main man – only for the former Cardiff wonder kid to put in an industrious although ineffective performance: yes, he won us the penalty that Alexandre Lacazette converted into the 2-0 goal but only completed 76% of his passes, recorded zero key-passes and failed to create a single goal-chance.
Is this what you want and expect from an attacking midfielder?
Is he the man who should lead us in the near future?
Not for me, obviously.
I don’t mean to criticize Aaron Ramsey, he is a good all-round midfielder who combines a great physical presence with some good technique but he’s not an attacking midfielder and never will; he’s a runner, he’s a fighter, he’s a complete midfielder but he doesn’t possess the eye for a killer-pass nor the silky touch required to complete an effective through-ball.
Almost each of his fancy touches and flips fails miserably, while he’s excellent when he can charge forward without the ball; asking him to be the director of our orchestra would hurt us as much as it would hurt him.
Asking a pure #8 to be our #10 would plunge us into technical mediocrity, unless we drastically change our way of playing football, something I cannot see happening with Arsène Wenger still at the helm.
Currently, Aaron Ramsey is the player who has been dispossessed the most (9 times) and the third for unsuccessful touches (12, Lacazette tops the chart with 17, Alexis Sánchez has 14) and the midfielder with less key-passes to his name – behind Mesut Özil, Alexis Sánchez, Hector Bellerín, Granit Xhaka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi, Sead Kolašinac and even Mohamed Elneny, despite having the third-most passes of our entire squad (351).
Numbers are not everything but they don’t lie, Aaron Ramsey isn’t the outstanding footballer we are led to believe he is; much like Mesut Özil, he is a player who isn’t helped by the current set-up nor by the players surrounding him, but the Welsh is hailed as the hero and the German – who obviously is the player with most key-passes at the Club and has the second-best key-passes per 90 minutes’ ratio among all Premier League midfielders, is the villain.
To believe that Aaron Ramsey – or Jack Wilshere – could be our saviour and be a better playmaker that Mesut Özil sounds naïve, at best; to believe that Arsène Wenger will play hard-ball on the German and leave him out until January is totally mad.
Arsène Wenger has never been that kind of manager and his behaviour towards want-away players has never turned into bitterness; au contraire, he always protected any of his players until their very last day at the Club, playing them like they were going to stay.
Therefore, Mesut Özil will be our main man in midfield when fit, regardless of his contract situation.
He’ll be ahead of Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and Jack Wilshere to play off Alexis Sánchez and Alexandre Lacazette until he is sold – or walks away for free.
I’m not saying that I support this way of doing but that’s the reality, I’m afraid.
Given that he’s been left out of the Germany national team for their next two games and that he didn’t even make the bench against Brighton on Sunday, Mesut Özil is “just” injured at the moment and will hopefully be in the starting XI against Watford, in two weeks’ time, when I expect him to run the show with Alexis Sánchez and Alexandre Lacazette, for what could be a fantastic trio of forwards.
Regardless of what he will decide to do, I will support him until his very last day as a Gunner as he didn’t do anything wrong towards his teammates, manager, the whole Club or us, supporters.
From tomorrow until his last day at the Club, he could play a very important role in our attempt to reach both Manchester clubs at the top of the table, because his qualities are beyond any form of discussion.
Mesut Özil is still a Gunner, do you remember?
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.