After performing sub-par in consecutive defeats against the two champions of the last two seasons: City and Chelsea, Mesut Ozil has finally earned three points for Arsenal on Sunday against Cardiff on his 5th anniversary with the club after missing the previous week’s win over West Ham.
The Gunners recorded their second win of the season but made hard work of the newly promoted side. The new manager has furthermore suggested that the German playmaker may not always be deployed in the number 10 position behind the strikers but as and when is demanded by the gaffer.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) September 2, 2018
Mesut Ozil played on the right of midfield in Arsenal’s opening fixture against Manchester City, before moving to the centre against Chelsea, only to be substituted in the second half of the 3-2 defeat. Against Cardiff, Emery stated that he was impressed by the 29 year old German and how he was particularly impressed with his performance in the second half given that Ozil mainly functioned from the right with Ramsey instead playing as the number 10.
Against Cardiff City Mesut Ozil maintained a passing accuracy of 84% and made one key pass. The playmaker had a total is 58 touches on the ball.[Via whoscored.com] and played a key role in the lead up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal in the second half.
Finding himself just inside the opposition half, Mesut Ozil waited for the precise moment to send the ball towards the feet of Alexandre Lacazette, who in turn spun a pass into the path of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who in turn arrowed a shot into the net. With an exact image in his mind about how to convert the pass into a goal and effortlessly making an impact right when it mattered, Mesut Ozil was standout throughout the game and his contributing received generous appraisal from the gaffer after the game.
“I give every player the same condition and every player is very important,”
“But Ozil with his quality I think we need him to give us his moments in the match with his quality. I think today in the second half he played a good match, he worked every minute he was on the pitch.
Maybe in the second half when we had more control with the ball and in possession, with his position on the pitch I think he feels better.”
One of the main dilemmas of Emery now seems to be who to give the number 10 position to: Ozil or Ramsey. The first thing Emery wants his no.10 to do is to initiate the press. The Cardiff City game was a perfect example of Ozil’s strengths and weaknesses.
In the first half, he played on the right and seemed to get in his teammates’ way when he tried to drift inside. As a result, both he and Ramsey kept getting into the same zones. But in the second half, things took a different turn when Mesut Ozil started moving to the centre and then to the left – his most preferred positions.
Emery wants his number 10 to press and in this area, Ramsey is better suited over Mesut Ozil for Emery as the Welshman can put pressure and win the ball in the opponent’s half more effectively and robustly than Mesut Ozil ever can. However, when it comes to exploiting space and creating chances, nobody in the squad trumps Ozil’s magnificence and he rightly holds the honour of being the fastest player to reach 50 premier league assists in the competition’s history.
'I spoke with Mesut Özil about his best position on the pitch
'When he was playing for Real Madrid, I remember a lot of matches when he was on the right.
'Mesut has played for me on the right wing and also as a No 10 — and we are going to continue to do that.' pic.twitter.com/IZxujEZG6F
— Emery's new era ?? (@tomgunner14) September 1, 2018
Speaking at the press conference before the Cardiff game, Emery gave a better idea about how he plans to ulitize Mesut Ozil by saying
“I like the possibility to have the player play different positions on the pitch and then it depends each match for us and for the opposition.
For that, Mesut played with me on the right wing and also as No.10, and we are going to continue to do that.”
Mesut in his career, he played as a 10 and on the right — when he was playing at Real Madrid, I remember a lot of matches on the right.
His quality is for playing between the lines.”
“But I spoke with him for his best position on the pitch and I know he can play right and as a 10. And he wants that I can use him for two positions.
“Every player in the squad plays in the position we need. Our demands are very high, very great, but I want to ask every player every day to give us more — not just Mesut, the team, the squad. We need to push, we need to have ambition, we need to have desire to improve every day.”
I personally think that since the last season, Mesut Ozil has been a shadow of a player he was 3 or 4 years back. In the 2015-2016 season, he almost smashed the premier league all time most assists in a season record, having registered 19. But in the next 2 years, he managed a grand total of 17 assists combined.
Mesut Ozil’s ability to pick out passes and predict runs of players around is at times mesmerising and the quality of his through balls and inch perfect passes second to none, but to be able to function in the setup that Emery dreams of having all around Mesut Ozil really needs to pick up the slack and do exactly whats expected of him and every other player around him. Emery needs a midfield engine right up there behind the striker and thats not Mesut Ozil.
So even if he the perfect number 10 in the world he isn’t the perfect number 10 in Unai Emery’s world and till that changes its better suited for him and for every one else around to realise that fact and allow him to function in a slightly different role for the sake of the team.
There is no denying that he has the potential of being one of the best playmakers’ in the world and has been through a lot of unjustified criticism, but to earn his place as the number 10 and to justify his wage the German has to pull up his socks and perform.
Having retired from international football, Mesut Ozil can also now rest before Arsenal’s trip to Newcastle United on 15 September. He will expect to start and, in turn, Emery will expect a fuller version of the German’s contribution to his first away victory as Arsenal manager.