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What has happened to Mesut Ozil?

Arsenal's club-record signing Mesut Ozil has been criticised for his recent displays for the Gunners

Arsenal’s club-record signing Mesut Ozil has been criticised for his recent displays for the Gunners

There are murmuring amongst Arsenal fans that they are not happy with the recent performances of club-record signing Mesut Ozil.

The Germany international playmaker arrived in north London for a fee of £42million from Real Madrid in August and brought with him a big reputation.

Mood changer

When Ozil joined the Gunners, suddenly the mood around the club went from one of doom and gloom to jubilation because everybody associated with Arsenal believed they were signing a truly world-class playmaker in the German.

The signing gave everybody a lift at the club, including Ozil’s new Arsenal teammates and the Gunners started to produce confident performances. The German assisted on his debut and then produced two assists on his home debut, but in recent games his influence has majorly waned.


Ozil made some crucial mistakes in Arsenal’s 5-1 hammering at Liverpool on Saturday. He gave the ball away for two of Liverpool’s goals and looked languid all afternoon. This was not the same played that arrived to the big fanfare in August.


Mesut Ozil was regarded as a player that could not complete 90 minutes in Madrid, much to Jose Mourinho’s annoyance last season. In his three years at the Bernabeu he hardly ever played for 90 minutes, which is incredible to think for a player of just 25.

Ozil has completed 90 minutes on 11 occasions for the Gunners and it seems that his body simply cannot take the demands of completing a full football match. Ozil should be attempting to get fitter and stronger.

Instead it seems that he is just happy with being a player that struggles with fitness problems and the physicality of the Premier League. La Liga is a much less physical league than the English top-flight and maybe that is why Ozil is now struggling.

In La Liga, Ozil could afford to be less strong than a lot of his opponents, because his skill and vision made up for his lack of strength. However, in the Premier League he is struggling to make use of his best assets because he looks constantly fatigued.

Arsenal have lost some key players in the middle of the park this season, so Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been unable to give the Germany international a rest. It is obvious to most people that Ozil is in dire need of a rest.

Unfortunately, Wenger is now in a position where he has to play the players who are not injured or suspended. He cannot afford to rest Ozil at such a crucial time in the season for the Gunners.


Ozil losing form and Arsenal losing form at the same time is no coincidence. In truth the Gunners have not been playing particular well for a good while, but their solid defence and individual performances have bailed them out on a number of occasions.

That defence was breached spectacularly by Liverpool’s SSSAS on Saturday. The Reds made Arsenal’s previously solid defence look very leaky with four goals in the opening 20 minutes and Ozil contributed in a way most Gunners fans would not expect, by gifting the Reds the ball.

The German’s performance against Liverpool was his worst in an Arsenal shirt, but everybody has off days. The Liverpool game showed that even the Gunners star playmaker can get it badly wrong.

The former-European assist king has not been creating many goals of late either, with just one assist in his last eight appearances and no goals. Prior to that he had created eight goals and scored a further four in the opening months of his Arsenal career.

There is no doubt about it Mesut Ozil needs to do more for his team. His teammates and fans are looking for him to be the inspirational figure in midfield, the playmaking wizard who can create goals from nothing. At the moment he is just a very expensive passenger.

Too much

When he arrived at the Emirates Stadium, Mesut Ozil was hailed as the man that would turn Arsenal into genuine title challengers. There is problem though, however highly-rated Mesut Ozil is, he is still human.

Maybe too much is being expected of the Germany international. Everybody in the football world knew that he was not the fittest or strongest football, but accepted it because of his ability to create goalscoring opportunities.

If he is not creating chances for his teammates though, then Mesut Ozil is almost obsolete. He serves little purpose in the Arsenal team at the moment. With a tough run of fixtures coming up maybe it is not the best time to rest the Germany international.

However, if the Gunners want to see the best of the mercurial Ozil, then they will have to accept his physical limitations and give him a rest at some point, or he will just become a very expensive liability to the team.

What has happened to Mesut Ozil?

Wed 12 February, 2014
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