Mesut Ozil’s first few seasons in England have been met with mixed reception, with the World Cup winner seemingly struggling to cope with the physicality of the top flight initially.
The player’s ability is not and never was in doubt, but some were unsure if he would ever reproduce the same form he showed at Real Madrid. Most Gooners would agree that his latest showings have been positive, with Ozil working on adding urgency and an improved work-rate to his game.
He is adapting to the lightning pace of the Premier League and is starting to stamp his authority more on matches. It is only a matter of time before the German returns to the heights of his Madrid form, and when he does he will take his rightful place atop the Premier League stats charts. Here is a look at why Ozil can become the best playmaker in the land.
Ozil is really starting to adapt to the top flight. He understands now that he won’t get too much time and space on the ball in most cases and is taking strides to cope with the physicality. Once he gets that down, there is absolutely nothing holding him back.
His class and ability are second to none and he can pick out and execute a pass as well as anyone in world football. He now just needs to keep up with pace of the match on a more consistent basis. We saw against Palace how special he really is, creating chance after chance for the team. He really does make the side tick on his day.
Time on his side
It is easy to forget Ozil is still just 26, and in football terms he has an eternity left in his career. He won nearly almost everything there is to win with Madrid, and will relish this chance to establish himself with Arsenal.
He is approaching what is widely mooted as a player’s golden years, which means the playmaker will soon be at the peak of his powers. He has been speaking recently of his ambitions in the near future, including a Ballon d’Or and titles with Arsenal, which means he hopes to up his game even further. He has the time and ability and most importantly the drive to do just that, and Arsenal will reap the benefits.
Consistency is key
Despite his mixed performances in his short Arsenal career, he has still shown his class on several occasions. Class is of course permanent, and he only needs to produce these kind of performances more often to silence his critics once and for all.
If the Ozil that turned up against Palace turns up every week, he would get even more assists and dispel any remaining doubts that remain. We need him to take matches by the scruff of the neck week in and week out, especially in the big games, where hasn’t really stamped his authority.
He is showing this year that he is on his way, leading the league in chances created with nine. He doesn’t lead the league in assists though, and that is what he needs to work on.
time to be selfish
Ozil admitted recently that he needs to be more selfish in the area if he is to score more goals. He said: “I have to become more dangerous in front of the goal. I was injured for long spells last season, and scored only five in 32 competitive games. I want to improve this. To achieve it, I have to be a bit more egotistical.”
A player of his ability should be scoring more goals as well as assisting, and that will come in no time I’m sure. He has shown he is quite the decent finisher, but must do more to get in those positions more often. He has what takes to be a goalscoring midfielder in the ilk of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, and I have no doubt he can emulate them.
Have no fear, help is here
With Cazorla adopting a new deep-lying playmaker role, and Alexis’ addition on the left, it is safe to say that Wenger truly is building a team around Ozil.
Even high flying Aaron Ramsey has had to settle for a role on the wing to make way for Ozil, and with Coquelin happy to do the dirty work behind, everything looks in place for the German to pull the strings.
He was the first of the big recent investments and Wenger will look to continue to add pieces to compliment Ozil and Alexis. Although the Ballon d’Or is an individual accolade, contributing to your team greatly increases your chances of lifting it, and Mesut will grow stronger as the side does.