There has been a lot made of Mesut Ozil’s performances for Arsenal this season, with pundits and fans alike criticizing the player’s passion and under-par displays.
The German maestro signed for Arsenal from Real Madrid last summer in a deal worth just over £42 million and began the season brightly, contributing five goals, nine assists and creating many chances for his team-mates before the turn of the year. In 2014, however, Ozil’s form has dipped and has looked lethargic at times, leading many to question his ambition and whether Arsene Wenger was right to splash out a club record fee to sign the 25-year-old.
A big money signing will always capture the spotlight when they aren’t doing as well as they should. But in his past three games or so, Ozil is starting to prove his doubters wrong by getting back into the groove and showing us what he is truly capable when he’s on it.
And because Ozil was brought for such a massive, former Gunners Alan Smith believes there is a big onus on the German international to perform tonight against Bayern:
‘They [Arsenal] haven’t got too many choices [in the middle] really with [Mikel] Arteta suspended and Aaron Ramsey injured, so I think Ozil will play and he’ll play through the middle.
“[It’s] not just about when he’s on the ball and trying to create, but when Bayern Munich have got it he’s got to do a job on Philipp Lahm, nipping back and getting his foot in, trying to stop the Bayern captain from getting his team ticking because if they do, it’s going to be difficult.’
Smith finished off by saying:
I can understand the fans frustration when it comes to Ozil, but many fail to realise that he has got a lot of options when he picks up the ball. He likes to get the ball and feed runners in, but since Theo Walcott has been out, Ozil has struggled to do so.
We want to see more from him because he is a quality footballer, but we shouldn’t be putting any unneeded pressure on his shoulders. He still needs to adapt after all.
If he can pull out a solid performance tonight then he will keep his critics silenced for a while.