Tag Archives: Mesut Özil

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,



The Fabric of Football | The Arsenal: This is Home

“When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.” – Dennis Bergkamp

There are many different routes to becoming an Arsenal fan. Whether you were born into it or they were your local club. Whether it was because of Kanu or Thierry Henry. Or whether one day you were watching the 1991 FA Cup Semi Final on TV and decided to support the loser.

Regardless of how you become an Arsenal fan, what is important is that you found a place where you belong. You found a home.

As part of the new Arsenal kit launch, Adidas have produced a short film giving an in-depth look at the identity, community and values that make the club so unique.

Fabric of Football: This is Home calls on the experiences and insights of club legends, current male & female stars, hopefuls of the future, as well as fans to explore what makes The Arsenal a global club with local community at its heart.

The film – the second in the Fabric of Football series, following a similar look at the values of Real Madrid CF  – celebrates the progressive and inclusive mentality of Arsenal, with club legend Ian Wright speaking with typical candour and passion about the role of the club in his experience growing up in London.

As well as Wright, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi, Mattéo Guendouzi, Vivianne Miedema, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Leah Williamson, Jordan Nobbs & Per Mertesacker, all reflect with pride on their own journeys with the club so far.

This is that film


Leicester City star “unsuitable” to replace Mesut Ozil at Arsenal

James Maddison has been singled out by many as a long term Mesut Ozil replacement.

The Leicester City midfielder has had a good first season in the Premier League and is clearly a talent.

I first noticed him when playing for Coventry. I remember the commentary during a game that he had an unusual method in taking penalties and free kicks – striking the ball with the back of the inside of his foot to generate more power.

He then joined Norwich before signing for Leicester City in the summer of 2018 for around £20million.

Just 22-years-old, Maddison has a bright future in both the Premier League and for England. However a replacement for Mesut Ozil he is not.

A lot of people have jumped all over the “chances created” statistic to highlight that he would make an ideal replacement for Ozil as Arsenal’s creator in chief. The problem is “chances created” is flawed.

Back in 2011 Liverpool  had a team that was struggling to create chances and score goals. The season before they scored just 59 goals. They went out into the market and recruited midfielder who, in 2010/11, had created a lot of chances. This led them to sign Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing.

On paper it looked a smart decision. They were adding 3 different style of players who all create a high number of chances. What they ignored, however, was that all 3 of those players were corner takers.

The problem with “chances created” as a raw statistic is it includes chances created from corners and free kicks. This means that a player who takes a corner has more of a chance of creating a chance than a player who does not.

Corner taken, header over the bar, “chance created.”

The problem Liverpool faced was that they have signed 3 corner takers, yet Steven Gerrard took all the corners. This resulted in no more chances created from open play and their goals scored dropped to just 47.

Whilst statistics are important, it is even more important that they are analysed correctly. By looking at chances created, Liverpool spent a lot of money on corner takers and it backfired.

Likewise this summer if you Arsenal were looking at a goal scoring midfielder to replace Aaron Ramsey, the dimpliest way to do it would be to just search “goals scored by midfielders.”

Coming out top is Paul Pogba with 13 Premier League goals from midfield. In second is Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace with 12. On paper, both would look like good options as goal scoring midfielders.

Yet 7 of Pogba’s 13 Premier League goals came from the penalty spot. And 10 of Milivojevic’s were penalties.

The less educated with think “Pogba has had a brilliant goal scoring season” yet he has scored the same amount of goals from open play in the league as Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Milivojevic would clearly not be a goal scoring midfielder if it was not for penalties.

So let’s go back to James Maddison.

He has created 100 chances in the Premier League this season, but he has taken 163 corners – the Premier League leader. Compare this to Mesut Ozil who has taken just 38 corners.

After corners, the second easiest way to “stat pad” the chances created statistic is through crosses.

Like with a corner, you swing in enough crosses over the course of the season, your chances create will go up.

Swing in corner + header off target = chance created.

James Maddison is 5th when it comes to “attempted crosses” in the Premier League with 205.

So he has taken 163 corners and crossed the ball 205 times. Those two put together give him 100 chances created.

Mesut Ozil does not take corners and rarely crosses the ball – just 42 crosses this season.

Combining the statistics; Maddison has swung 368 balls into the box from corners and crosses. Ozil just 80 balls slung into the box.

The types of chances both create are very different.

Maddison’s are very basic. Balls into the box giving a striker a headed chance – and a low chance of scoring. Ozil’s are more complex. Inch perfect passes from open play that lead to a better chance for a striker to score.

The way Arsenal play, the midfielders job is not to put crosses in. That is the job of the full backs. Were Maddison to join Arsenal, he would find that route to chances create dry up as he has to adapt to a different style of play.

Whilst in Maddison Arsenal would be recruiting a good corner taker, it is not taking corners that Arsenal would need to replace in Mesut Ozil. It is chances created from open play.

In summary, Maddison creates a lot of chances from corners or from out wide. What we need when looking for an Ozil replacement is someone who creates chances from the middle of the park.