Mesut Ozil Conundrum : Is the midfielder an utter failure this season?

Mesut Ozil has not been at his best of late, and that is clearly affecting Arsenal to a great extent.


Mesut Ozil is a name which reverberates in the mind, heart and soul of every Arsenal fan, not only because he is Arsenal’s all time record signing but at the same time he is what they thought would be the perfect replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

It was Mesut, who propelled Arsenal to a 2nd place finish in the 2015-2016 edition of the Barclays Premier League. The German International came very close to breaking Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in one Premier League season, notching up 19 assists en-route.

To say Ozil has been an utter failure at Arsenal would be kind of a juvenile assessment of the German’s contributions to the current Arsenal side. Fans are impatient and a certain section of them have often complained that Harry Potter often lends his “invisibility cloak” to Mesut for the big matches. Truth be told, Mesut Ozil has scored against Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munchen, Tottenham and a sumptuous free kick vs Liverpool a few years ago. He was even voted the German player of the year for the 5th time in the last 6 years which is an elephantine achievement in itself.

What his fellow team mates, managerial and coaching staff need to understand is that Mesut is a confidence player. If he rides high on confidence, he can unlock the toughest and most impenetrable of defenses with the blink of an eye.  A lazy flick here and there or a brilliant through ball and lo and behold! The entire tactical approach of the opponent manager falls apart.

Ozil’s brilliant ability to analyze the game is an asset any top European team could kill for, his ability to deliver free kicks into the opponents’ box is also something Arsenal forwards thrive upon. The last season stoppage time free kick against Leicester city which was like a wrapped up gift for Danny Welbeck removes any shred of doubt one might have on one’s mind. Ozil has a brain that is similar to that off an accomplished Mathematician, all the while calculating and weighing a pass before actually delivering it with a deadly accuracy. The mere fact, that he can provide 19 assists to a forward line comprising of the likes of Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell is a herculean deed.

The only thing Ozil can be genuinely criticized for is not fully performing his defensive responsibilities to the letter. Whether he is lazy or he becomes weary past the sixty or seventy minute mark is completely irrelevant. As a professional player he has to show more commitment when it comes to the defensive side of his game. Mesut Ozil does not have the required physicality that is needed to be successful in the Premier League. The main attribute needed for a player to shine in the Premier League is raw physical athleticism. Players who are as weak as Ozil, and yet are successful in England such as David Silva, rely on their quick and nimble feet to get them out of trouble.

The Spanish La Liga concentrates more on the technical aspects of a player, if you are technically sound you can make it big. Mesut Ozil thrived in Real Madrid because he had brilliant finishers there like Ronaldo, Benzema and Angel Di Maria to assist him with the finishing. He will not be successful in a league which demands you to dribble or make tackles. For Ozil to bear fruit you need footballing skills and vision to be appreciated rather than brutal physicality.

The English media has hardly ever praised Ozil for his exploits and efforts since he came to Arsenal, while at the same time hyping up players like Andy Carrol, Alex Oxalade Chamberlain and Adam Lallana. The same Ozil is much revered in the German national side where he is praised by the German press and thus gathers the confidence to pull up his socks and perform. An equal amount of optimism however, is absent in the English media and thereby some of his mediocre performances have been for Arsenal.

If Ozil is unsure of himself, then there is no point in playing him. If Mesut Ozil was to leave Arsenal this summer, then many Arsenal fans would get rather befuddled as to why he would leave-monetary reasons (Arsenal are known to have a strict wage structure) or lack of ambition (a reason cited by former gunner’s striker Robin Van Persie).

Mustafa Ozil his father, in a recent interview said that Mesut absolutely loves life at Arsenal, and that he was inclined on staying there irrespective of the fact that Arsene Wenger might leave at the end of the season. Ozil is very active on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, and more often than not his posts are filled with an “Arsenal vibe”. While referring to Arsenal many times in the past, he has often used the pronoun “we” which again signifies the bond that he has formed here at the club. Replacing a player of Mesut’s quality will not be easy for Arsenal, since they are not financially as strong as their Manchester counterparts or Chelsea. Ozil is a plant which blossoms and flourishes when his morale is high. For Arsenal to break their trophy jinx and win something as big as the Premier League or the Champions League, a self-assured Mesut Ozil is completely pivotal to Arsenal’s future plans.