There has been a lot of talk about Mesut Ozil’s recent form and lack of desire on the pitch – but who is really to blame for the German’s downward spiral since the turn of the year?
I’m sorry to say it but although Ozil hasn’t lived up to our expectations and is the one who has to perform but Arsene Wenger has to take a share of the blame, and here’s why.
Ozil is an attacking midfielder, who possesses great vision, passing ability and can create moments of magic in an instance, and many will agree that his best position, the role you will get the best out of him, is behind the striker, not on the wing where Wenger has been deploying him for many of his games since his arrival last summer.
The 25-year-old isn’t blessed with pace, nor the stamina to operate on the wings, especially in the Premier League. Yes he did feature a lot for Real Madrid on the wings, but he had players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain (when he was at the Bernabeu) and Angel Di Maria all offered him runs and space to play the ball into – he didn’t have to do track back, all he had to do was attack and create. At Arsenal, however, it’s a different story.
Wenger should realise where the German international’s best position is and where he could get the best out of him. The Frenchman should know that the wide position isn’t suited to Ozil, and while many of us complain about the lack of passion and poor form, we should also take into consideration that he is playing in a position he is not comfortable in. Wenger did the same with Andrey Arshavin – we all knew his best position was behind the striker yet Arsene always stuck him out of the wing, which contributed to his poor form and eventual departure.
Its Ozil’s first season at Arsenal and it will take time for him to adjust to the Premier League. But to be honest, although he has hit a blip in form, Mesut has had a decent enough return so far in the Premier League, scoring four goals and has one eight assists to his name – one less leaders Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney.
Yes Ozil hasn’t pulled his weight in terms of tracking back but he isn’t and never has been one to do so, and I believe Wenger’s decision to play him out wide has – to a degree – contributed to his poor form.
Hopefully, when the German returns from his rest, Wenger will play him in the hole behind the striker and give him license to express himself in this position.