The time has come for the Gooners to find a new hobby other than the usual ‘Özil-bashing’ three times a year.
The World Cup winning German has skills most clubs would die for, yet he regularly gets pilloried for all sorts of things – languid posture, facial expressions, lack of intensity, lack of form and his absence in high-stake games.
Plenty of players who haven’t exactly delivered for their clubs lately hardly suffer at the hands of fans as much as the Arsenal midfielder. No other footballer attracts the same amount of criticism as Özil.
Every time he is unable to play, it seems to be because of disagreements or fall-outs with the manager. When his form goes AWOL, it’s because he doesn’t care enough or isn’t trying.
Lukaku, Kane, Sterling and Alli have all suffered dips in form and flirted with mediocrity. Sanchez in particular is a shadow of his former self, but he manages to avoid the damnation of the Old Trafford faithful.
Dele Alli rises to great heights, and goes off just as quickly. Yet, he’s hailed as a remarkable talent and holds on to his England place.
Lukaku continues to underwhelm; at times it appears that he can’t hit a garage door with a melon. This is rather unfortunate considering that he cost United a staggering £90 million.
Özil on the other hand has provided 51 assists in his Arsenal career and I suspect this substantially trounces the figures of anyone else in the division. Only Eriksen comes close to rivalling this tall task, that too with 30+ extra appearances.
Ronaldo, recognised as one of the world’s best players, was said to be bitterly disappointed by Real Madrid’s decision to sell the German to Arsenal because of his technical ability and assists.
So what exactly is it about Özil that provokes such a negative reaction? Are we being led a merry dance by the media? Is it merely a subliminal suggestion highlighted by pundits and so-called experts?
This clearly seems to be the case.
As a pro-Özil fan, I’d admit any day that he frustrates me on occasions, but as with all immensely gifted players, he can’t produce the type of blistering form that is expected of him every week.
Why, you may ask. For starters, the threat he poses leads to him being heavily marked, which prevents spectacular displays of his skills.
He has also had to shoulder the burden of being the only genuinely creative midfielder in the Arsenal side, and now requires the support of a like-minded individual to share the load.
Just as Xhaka flourished with the arrival of Lucas Torreira, I suspect Özil would benefit from another visionary midfielder.
On the plus side – and I feel that I have to defend him at this point – there are few players with the ability to unlock a defence the way Özil does.
The deftness of his touch, his ability to gauge the runs of his team mates, the space and time he creates on the ball – these skills are simply astonishing and unparalleled.
The only other player to wear an Arsenal shirt who was capable of working such magic was Dennis Bergkamp.
In my opinion, he’s not in that class but is still an extraordinary talent in his own right. One day Özil will be gone and only then, it seems, will he be given the recognition he deserves.
The best thing for the Gunners to do is to step their game up.
The January transfer window is fast approaching, and perhaps Emery can succeed where Wenger failed, by giving Özil a partner who will help him be the best man he can be.