There was a time when Mesut Ozil looked as if he was destined for the exit door at Arsenal. There’s no doubt that the German midfielder is a genuine talent but he has frustrated many because of a lack of consistency.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 1, 2019
Ozil has shown flashes of class but not often enough to merit praise or keep him in the side. That’s the problem with a player that possesses this level of skill. He occasionally shows the imaginative flourishes, assured touches and intuitive assists but when these gifts become more infrequent, it leads to fans growing tired of waiting to see him at his best.
Some say he’s lazy, others that Ozil lacks desire and there are some that think he doesn’t care and this season, Unai Emery subscribed to one or more of those alleged flaws. Ozil was out of favour and out of the team. Emery and Ozil had a face off that would last months, with the playmaker spending more time training than he did on the pitch.
There were rumours of a training ground bust up but this is something the press wheel out every time there is a perceived rift between a boss and player but there were definitely problems. Occasionally, Ozil didn’t even make the bench or alternatively, he suddenly resurfaced against a so called lesser team but even then he got hooked.
The cracks were showing and it was probably the North London Derby at the Emirates that confirmed that Emery had no faith of trust left in his midfielder. Arsenal won 4-2 and Ozil’s absence went under the radar because of the success.
Emery: "Mesut Ozil has quality, when he can find the best performance for the team, he is playing like we want with the system & how tactically we want. He is giving us his quality… Aaron Ramsey is happy, he is helping us & is playing with a very good performance and scoring." pic.twitter.com/DFTV2I8UL4
— AFCMike (@AFCPW) April 1, 2019
Then Ozil had a reprieve against Bournemouth on the 27th of February and he showed exactly what Arsenal had been missing.
During his absence, Arsenal had struggled to create chances and looked sluggish but Emery appeared unrepentant, prepared to keep sacrificing his highly paid employee until such time that he changed the way he played or decided to leave the comfort of the Emirates.
It may be too early to say but it seems that the Bournemouth game was a turning point with the player playing how he had been asked and the coach appreciating the undeniable talent within his ranks. In truth Ozil has taken the brunt for Arsenal’s failures.
The media is constantly looking at his performances in microscopic detail, whilst a section of fans have turned against Ozil and demanded his exit, no doubt influenced by the witch hunt. Iwobi is enduring something similar at present but at least he has the unshakable support of Unai Emery and a fairly regular place in the side.
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) April 1, 2019
Under Wenger, Ozil was afforded preferential treatment from Uncle Arsene, not quite at the level of cry baby Sanchez but he featured in the team regardless of effort or form. Emery is more of a black and white character and not the type to let players underperform. Even worse, having had to play second fiddle to his highness Lord Neymar at PSG, he has no time for precious football stars.
The lines of conflict were waiting to be crossed when the Spaniard breezed into Arsenal and Emery demanded more from the players than they had been prepared to give the previous boss. Most changed their habits but it seems Ozil saw no need and lacked the sort of motivation of a man who was banking a healthy £350,000 before tax.
It’s taken a good shake of the shoulders and the sudden realisation that the German could be in no man’s land until 2021, when his lucrative contract runs out, to produce the goods. It’s a wound that hasn’t completely healed and it could turn again if Ozil doesn’t completely invest himself in his football but things look promising and perhaps the midfielder can finally start to deliver on his talent.
It’s Arsenal, so we will never know what happened between the pair but who cares as long as the spat benefits the team. It may turn out to be a master stroke of man management to guide his most talented player into the direction of his choosing.
I wonder what clicked in Emery's head to go from that to a Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil midfield with two strikers in front. It's a massive change in mentality. Also hope this dispels the weird 'Ramsey and Ozil can't play together' thing. Our best form always comes with those two.
— CD14 (@c_d_14) April 4, 2019
The recent game against Newcastle saw a man of the match performance and back to his creative best, hopefully he will now help propel the team into champions league qualification and everyone can fall in love with Ozil again.