A brief history of Mesut Ozil: A footballer capable of being the best
Mesut Ozil is a world-class football player. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. And there are numbers that support this fact.
Ozil is a five-time German Player of the Year and has won the La Liga, Copa del Rey and DFB Pokal. In addition, he is also a three-time FA Cup winner and a World Cup winner. Despite winning these honours, recent times have been tough for the former Real Madrid man.
He had a fall out with the DFB after Germany’s debacle in the World Cup. He announced his retirement from the national team amidst strong accusations of racism on the part of the German media and the DFB (h/t The Mirror). But in these times of despair, he found solace at his other home, Arsenal.
The new Arsenal boss Unai Emery started him in all the pre-season games. In fact, he handed him a start for the first game of the season against Manchester City as well. But it was the same old story for Arsenal and Ozil.
The Ozil of old didn’t turn up and neither did Arsenal’s entire team as they were beaten by a City side who didn’t even need to come out of the second gear to get a 2-0 win. This makes the fans wonder if Ozil is still the same talisman from before?
Arsenal have lacked a genuine superstar ever since Robin Van Persie joined Manchester United in 2012. It is important for every team to have a talisman who can take a tough game by the scruff of the neck and win it for the team. Ozil arrived from Real Madrid in 2013 and Arsenal supporters finally had their big-name signing.
He had a reputation for being an assist-king in Spain, where had scored 19 goals and assisted a staggering 46 more in the La Liga in just 3 years. He didn’t disappoint the Gunners as he assisted his first goal 11 minutes into his debut. He scored 5 goals and assisted 9 more in his first season. He was injured for the most part of the second season, however, making only 22 appearances in the league.
But his third season was when he announced himself to the English supporters. He scored 8 goals and assisted 19. Yes. Nineteen. He seemed like an unstoppable force who could take Arsenal to the next level, both domestically and in Europe.
But since then, he has been unable to reach those extraordinary heights again. He often disappears in the big games and he struggles to fulfil his defensive duties. His assists also have dried up. In the past two seasons, he could only muster 17 assists in the Premier League. But all of Arsenal’s downfall is not his fault.
Arsenal have lacked a world-class striker since the days of Van Persie and have also struggled badly with their defence. Even in the underwhelming 2016/17 and 2017/18 campaigns, Ozil managed to make 184 key passes but the lack of quality finishers hurt Arsenal chances.
At 29 years of age, the player signed a new contract back in February this year (h/t Sky Sports). While he can’t be tagged as a player who is past his prime, he is certainly falling behind the new assist king of England, Kevin De Bruyne.
Clearly, Ozil’s moments of magic are becoming a rarity these days. He is not getting worse but he is getting frustratingly inconsistent. He can’t be docked of his superstar status just yet, but this season will be very important for Ozil. Emery needs him to deliver and it is about time that Ozil gets the fans to chant his name again with his mesmerizing passes and assists.