Mesut Ozil, I just don’t think you understand….

Mesut Ozil is arguably the biggest enigma we have had at The Arsenal – He is Brilliant, Magical, Inspiring, Frustrating, Lazy, World Class and opinion dividing all in one – I don’t think I have ever seen a player that has split the opinion of a fan base more than Mesut Ozil.

213 assists in 579 career club appearances, 65 goal involvements in 92 aps for Germany. He has been the top provider in Germany, Spain, England, a World Cup, Euros and the Champions League – that tells you all you need to know about his strengths. On his day he is arguably the best number 10 world football, the most creative footballer in the planet. This has been back up by Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and Joachim Low who made him integral parts of their team.

Many of Mesuts current and ex-team mates and say he is the best player they have played with technically; BUT the question that has always been asked about Mesut “Does he want it enough?” “Does he really care?” “Does he work hard enough?”

I guess as Arsenal fans a lot of people would say no to those 3 questions. Yet Ozil was an integral part of ending Arsenals 9 year trophy drought – he went on to win 3 FA Cups with Arsenal in 4 years.

Ozil joined Arsenal in 2013 following a promise he gave Arsene Wenger prior to joining Real Madrid 3 years earlier.

On the 31st January 2018 Mesut signed a new 3 year contract with Arsenal for £350,000 per week – this was the same time we lost Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez was unbelievable for Arsenal at the time and was a huge blow to lose him to Manchester United. Mesut could have easily followed suit, but he didn’t he signed a new deal to stay at the club that he felt was his home – he has always paid a huge respect to the Arsenal fans that have always stuck by him.

When Unai Emery joined Arsenal he made Mesut Ozil one of his 5 captains but at the same time challenged Mesut by insisting he had to improve his work rate.

Ozil was reminded that he was no different to any other player in the squad and if he didn’t do what was asked of him he would not play.

That is fair enough – you have to adapt and as an Arsenal fan for over 30 years all I have ever wanted to see is a player give 100% for the shirt – especially if you are earning £350k a week!

Mesut managed 5 goals and 2 assists in 24 games in the Premier League in the 2018-19 season is this enough to justify his huge new contract? By far the biggest contract we have given to a player.

Some fans argued that we should have got rid of Mesut and given that kind of contract to Aaron Ramsey and kept him – I could see the logic in that.

Rambo is an Arsenal man with over 10 years under his belt for the club.

When struggling for game time under Unai Emery, when he did play you could see what he offered – 110% work rate and was hugely influential in getting us to the Europa League final which he missed due to injury!

Mesut I feel has always been a player that needs to feel completely free and have 100% confidence in him to really perform.

He clearly doesn’t have that under Unai Emery.

This season be has played only 1 game in the Premier League and has been left out of the last 3 match day squads. You can see that something is not right.

Rumours that he doesn’t fully apply himself training; that he has a tendency to call in sick on a regular basis circulate.

Is Unai making an example of Mesut? He famously had a similar power struggle at PSG with Neymar which clearly was won by Neymar; but is history repeating itself with Mesut? Unai Emery seems very reluctant to give Mesut the chance to redeem himself.

Why would you sign Mesut? To create goal scoring opportunities for his teammates and chip in with goals – that’s his strengths and that’s what he has been better than anyone else at for over a decade.

You certainly don’t sign someone like Mesut to track back and tackle. But is this where football has changed? Defending starts from the front and no matter who you are; you work hard, you press. Liverpool the perfect example of defending from the front.

Body language has never been Ozil’s best friend. Even when he is covering more distance than any other player, putting a shift in, he still looks lethargic.

Ozil has perhaps found himself as the victim of Arsenal’s defensive frailties.

The side is so shaky at the back with not enough cover from midfield, Emery has had to sacrifice the playmaker who can coast defensively to bring in someone harder working like Dani Ceballos.

But Ozil is still the best playmaker at the club and with Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang up top; if given the chance I struggle to see how we wouldn’t be more prolific. Perhaps the best form of defence is attack?

He was recently again voted in as one of the 5 captains but more importantly this was voted for by the players – does this tell us something we don’t know?

After a rare recent interview with The Athletic; Mesut has reaffirmed his love for the club:

“I have a contract until the summer of 2021 and I will be staying until then. When I signed the new deal, I thought about it very carefully and said it was one of the most important decisions of my footballing career.

I didn’t want to stay for just one or two more years, I wanted to commit my future to Arsenal and the club wanted me to do the same. You can go through difficult times, like this, but that is no reason to run away and I’m not going to. I’m here until at least 2021.

I said that Arsene Wenger was a big factor in me joining Arsenal — and he was — but ultimately I signed for the club. Even when Arsene announced he was leaving, I wanted to stay because I love playing for Arsenal and that’s why I’ve been here for six years.

I’m proud to be an Arsenal player, a fan and I’m happy here. Whenever people see me in the street I always say, ‘This is my home’. I’m going nowhere.”

Ozil has always done the PR stuff well. It is why he is a huge brand in his own right.

In his interview he said all the right things. It then actions speak louder than words.

Mesut Ozil clearly loves London – he clearly feels at home and when he is on it he is one of the most enjoyable players to watch playing this beautiful game – but where does he go from here? He is 31 now and his contract runs out in the summer of 2021.

It is difficult to see both Mesut Ozil and Unai Emery still being at the club come the summer of 2021 – but will either of them be here? If so who do you think?

One thing is for sure –Mesut Ozil at his best he has been an absolute joy to watch in the famous red and white and for me I won’t forget his best bits!

“We’ve got Ozil, Messsssssut Ozil” “I just don’t think you understand” But is he Unai’s man?

Kind regards,



Arsenal will “return a different team” after the international break

8 games gone and Arsenal are Xrd in the league.

It feels like there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the club at the beginning of this season.

Yes, the Watford draw was a disappointment, and we did not seem to go out 100% for the win against Manchester United, but things have certainly not been as bad as some fans make out.

The international break has come at a good time for us, and we will return a different team after it.

The 2 weeks off will give Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney extra recovery time from their long term injuries.

The fact that we are top 4 without Bellerin, Tierney and Holding means we have plenty to be optimistic about when they return fully. All 3 have shown in the mid-week team that they will improve our 1st team upon their return.

Tierney and Bellerin will improve us defensively and provide quality from the flanks.

The Scotsman has already shown that he is probably the best crosser of the ball at the club and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be licking his lips.

Aubameyang must know that everytime Tierney has the ball on the left he must attack the 6-yard box and a pin point cross will be swung in. Tierney can do for Arsenal what Andrew Robertson has done for Liverpool.

On the other flank we have missed Bellerin; especially in defensive situation.

Bellerin is underrated defensively, rarely does a winger get the better of him. He will make our back 4 look a lot stronger.

Both Tierney and Bellerin will also change the way we defend corners. Both are blessed with electric pace and with Bellerin on the half way line and Tierney in the space in front; we will be a lot harder to break against.

Holding is solid and reliable at the back – and is also a good passer of the ball. It has to be him +1 between now and the end of the season.

When we line up against Sheffield United on our 1st game back, it will be like having 3 new signings at the back. The defence (which has looked shaky this season) will improve 10-fold

The extra 2 weeks will also be key for the development of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe.

Both new signings have looked good in part this season, but have not set the world alight.

Pepe especially looks like a player feeling the pressure of his price tag.

Everytime Pepe gets on the ball he is trying hard to make something happen. Trying to provide game winning moments. The problem is he has yet to do anything game-changing.

Worryingly he is also not doing the basics right; miss-placing easy passes.

He has been dispossessed 12 times in possession this season; more often than any other Arsenal player.

Whilst it expected that your winger is the most dispossessed player in the team, it is a concern due to how little game time he has had. Dani Ceballos is the 2nd most dispossessed player in the team.

Hopefully the international break will do them well and give both a chance to build confidence going into the English winter.

By the time the international break is over, we will have a new look back 4 and it will feel like we are a completely different team.

Against Sheffield United I expect us to line up:

Plenty to look forward to. I am off to Morocco so do not expect a blog for a couple of weeks.


Match Report: Arsenal 1 – 0 Bournemouth

Arsenal (1) 1 AFC Bournemouth (0) 0
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Sunday, 6th October 2019. Kick-off time: 2.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Sead Kolašinac; Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka; Mattéo Guendouzi, Nicolas Pépé, Bukayo Saka; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Emiliano Martínez; Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli.
Scorers: David Luiz
Yellow Cards: Gabriel Martinelli
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 53%
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance 60,326

After just nine minutes, the only goal of the match came, thankfully from David Luiz, and from that moment onwards the die was firmly cast in our favour, as fate would have it. And it was a very good job as well that the goal came when it did, as there were times when things looked a trifle rocky out there in London N5. But the real man of the moment was not Señor Luiz (even though it was his first goal in Arsenal colours), but Nicolas Pépé, whose well-taken corner enabled our much-maligned centre-back to score with an excellent glancing header. Up until the sixty-third minute, when he was substituted for Gabriel Martinelli, he showed enough promise for us all to believe that this young man will be a true star for the club over the next few seasons or so; he nearly even got us a penalty as well, when he was brought down by Diego Rico. After a VAR check, the penalty was denied, but the intent to score was certainly in there from our striker.

Let’s be honest, for the first twenty minutes or so, we were lively and creating chances (hence the goal), and after that, we calmed down and became less animated and as a result, less passionate. Although it has to be said that we did create one or two chances (mainly for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), after this period, by the time half-time arrived, most of our supporters appeared to seem incredulous at their post-goal appearance in this half.

As is often the case, the second half was a totally different story altogether. Somehow, we were unable to build on our lead and appeared to be more intent on a holding, possession-based game rather than an out-and-out attacking one. This led Bournemouth to wake up and start feeling their feet, mainly because our midfield became almost non-existent at times, and so became woeful. The visitors were desperately unlucky not to equalise, and their wingers had enough space and time to cause us real concern. Thank God for a sterling performance by Calum Chambers, who was truly immense at the back. The match needed livening up from our perspective, and aside from the aforementioned Pépé/Martinelli substitution, Joe Willock came on for a rather lacklustre Dani Ceballos on 75 minutes, and eight minutes later, Lucas Torreira replaced an ineffective Bukayo Saka, but still we were unable to score another goal.

Unbelievably, we were most fortunate not to concede a late goal in injury time, and thankfully we walked away with maximum points from this match today.

Look, it wasn’t pretty, and at times it was a close run thing, but a win is a win, and this time it landed us in third place, with just a point behind Manchester City, which is a truly magnificent achievement for this squad at this point in the season. The Premiership is the most demanding league in the world, and at times we have to accept that we need to grind out matches to get maximum points from a game, which is exactly what happened here at The Emirates today. Having said that, it was an element of concern that we faded away somewhat in the second half, and remember as this was not the line-up that destroyed Standard Liège on Thursday, fatigue couldn’t have been an issue here. Enough of the negatives, there are positives here. This was the first clean sheet that we kept at The Emirates this season, and it was encouraging to see Calum Chambers, Mattéo Guendouzi and Nicolas Pépé step up to the plate when needed. Due to the international break, we don’t play again for fifteen days; let’s see what the Sheffield United match will bring. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday, 21st October at 8.00pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.