Why is Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil underperforming?
Arsenal’s Mezut Ozil is the most expensive German football player of all time (being transfered by Arsene Wenger for £ 42.5 million). Arsenal fans expected a lot from the 24 years old German attacking midfielder, who was once compared with Zinedine Zidane by Jose Mourinho. After a flying start for the Gunners, with 8 assists and 4 goals in 12 EPL games, Ozil started to underperform, managing to score only once and deliver only 1 assist in the second part of the season. What were the causes for this severe drop in performance for one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe?
Many specialists consider that Arsene Wenger is the main reason why Mezul Ozil is underperforming for the Gunners. Fans and media experts argue that the German is played out of his preferred position. Arsenal’s manager insists on using the former Real Madrid attacking midfielder as a winger. Is this the main reason why Ozil is not any longer Europe’s best assistant?
At a first glance, yes, Mesut Ozil delivered some amazing performances for Germany’s squad and for Real Madrid as attacking midfielder. The creative midfielder was Mannschaft‘s top assistant in 2010 World Cup and 2012 EURO, with 3 decisive passes. Moreover, Mesut Ozil scored 27 goals and delivered 81 decisive passes in 159 appearances for Real Madrid. The German was the main assists provider for Cristiano Ronaldo. with 27 decisive passes in 3 seasons. However, all those figures prove that Ozil was mainly an assists provider and chances creator and not quite a goalscorer (despite facing less tough opposition in La Liga).
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger can not be blamed for using the German as winger because Ozil was fantastic for Real Madrid, being very effective from flanks, benefiting from Ronaldo’s run in the center. The German playmaker managed to create 13 decisive passes and another 102 chances from the flanks in his last season for Real Madrid. Furthermore, Joachim Lowe started to use Mesut Ozil on the flanks. So, no, Wenger can not be blamed for using him as a winger. The Frenchman did everything to make the German happy, he even gave him a winter break to go in vacation. Many suggest that Wenger should use Ozil in the middle, but how can the Frenchman replace Arsenal’s midfield when Ramsey is a constant danger when goes forward (16 goals and 10 assists in the last season), while Wilshere proves to be a tireless box to box midfielder, making a lot of important tackles and surprise appearances in the attack.
Secondly, the playmaker decided to leave Santiago Bernabeu for Arsenal because he sensed that competition would become tougher and tougher after Isco and Bale joined the Galaxy. Ozil had the World Cup in mind and wanted to constantly play, so he decided to go to Arsenal. However, Arsenal is not a proper fit for Mesut. Signed as a superstar, Mesut Ozil used the momentum and played fantastically in the first part of the season. Sadly, the German playmaker was not used and fit for the requirements of Premier League. He was regularly substituted by Mourinho after 70 minutes, but Wenger always kept him for the whole 90 minutes. The German attacking midfielder became Arsenal’s main threat in the eyes of the opposition so they started to mark him more tightly and give him more attention. While playing for Real Madrid, Ozil was able to make surprise appearances due the fact that the opposition was more careful on Ronaldo, Higuain or Benzema. Moreover, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil lacked the attacking force and clarity of Real’s strikers. With no real goalscorer, Ozil only created chances that would be eventually wasted by Giroud. The 25 years old player started to struggle in a team that did not win any trophy in 9 years.
Thirdly and most importantly, Mesut Ozil lost his confidence and inner peace. The German was not a leader in Real Madrid’s locker room, he was only a decisive player. When he joined Arsenal, fans expected from Ozil to bring with him the winning spirit, but he certainly does not have that charisma and attitude to be a leader. Mesut is wonderful player, who is always quiet and calm, but he lacks leadership skills. Arsenal certainly lack the strong characters from Real Madrid, there is no Sergio Ramos or Ronaldo and as a result Ozil was no longer happy. Even Jose Mourinho said that Ozil needs to be happy in order to perform. Furthermore, the German seemed to be anchored in the past by always posting photos with Real Madrid fans wearing his T-shirt or by tweeing about his former teammates Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In conclusion, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil needs to find his peace at Arsenal. Despite fans criticism, the Gunners expect a lot from him and believe that he will turn into a decisive player. If the German attacking midfielder is not happy playing for Arsene Wenger’s team, then he should look for a transfer somewhere else. Otherwise, European football will lose one the finest chances creator. Maybe with the new signings of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck, Mesut Ozil will regain his confidence and be able to return to his Madrid’s form.