Why Arsenal must hold onto Mesut Ozil at all costs
Over the past few years, whenever Arsenal struggled under Arsene Wenger, no other player received more criticism than Mesut Ozil. The German has always been a scapegoat for everything bad happening at the club. But Wenger, before leaving this summer, tied Ozil down to a long-term contract with Arsenal.
When new boss Unai Emery took charge, there were hopes of witnessing the old Ozil’s return. But the season started in the same fashion as the previous one had finished. Arsenal lost their two opening matches to Manchester City and Chelsea. And despite being on the pitch on both occasions, Ozil was nowhere to be found.
The allegations of him being invisible in big games and not working hard enough have seemingly resurfaced. Ozil is, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest player to wear an Arsenal shirt since Robin Van Persie left for Manchester United in 2012. But a string of poor performances has left Arsenal fans desiring more.
In fact, a recent report from Daily Express has also linked Ozil with a sensational move to Old Trafford. But Emery must do everything in his power to keep the German at the Emirates.
When he arrived on English shores for a fee of £42.4m in 2013, he had a reputation for being an assist-king. In fact, the German scored 19 goals and assisted a staggering 46 more in the La Liga in just three years. He didn’t disappoint at Arsenal 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 most of the second season but his third term was when he announced himself to the English supporters. He scored 8 goals and assisted 19. He seemed like an unstoppable force who could take Arsenal to the next level, both domestically and in Europe. Arsenal finished second in the league that season, their highest position since 2008.
But since then, he has been unable to reach those extraordinary heights again. 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.
He is often used on wide positions, where he is not as effective as he is when playing right behind the striker. Also, 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.
But now that Arsenal have got two great strikers in the form of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, it goes without saying that they have the ability to finish off the big chances Ozil creates. In the past two wins, against the likes of Cardiff City and Newcastle United, Ozil controlled the pace of the game and orchestrated almost every Arsenal attack. He capped off a great day at St. James’ Park by scoring the second Arsenal goal which proved to be the winner.
The Europa League and the League Cup are around the corner and Emery will need his big players to step up and lead the team ahead. With the support of the manager and the fans, there is no reason to believe why Ozil can’t kickstart his season and help Arsenal finish in the top-four again.