Kyle Goldsmith analyses how Mesut Ozil has got on at Arsenal since joining The Gunners last summer, looking at his best and worst moments in an inconsistent 13 months…
Since arriving in North London in 2013, Germany international Mesut Ozil has had an up and down time. He has gone from being invisible in some games to being sensational in others. So why is he so inconsistent?
When Ozil was signed for £42 million, there was widespread relief and excitement for Arsenal fans, who until then had only seen Yaya Sanogo arrive in the transfer window. But with this came expectation which at first he seemed to handle in superb fashion. On his debut away at Sunderland, he brilliantly assisted Olivier Giroud in a 3-1 win. Weeks later, he assisted all three goals at home to Stoke.
At this point, everything was rosy for not only Ozil, but Arsenal too. They topped the league. Another brilliant performance led to a 4-2 win against Norwich, with Ozil scoring two. This continued up to Christmas, with perhaps the pick of the performances an impressive 3-0 win at Cardiff, with the German providing two assists for Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini. At Christmas, Arsenal were only kept off the top of the league by Liverpool on goal difference. Ozil was nominated for major honours, such as the Balon D’or. He was also involved in the UEFA Team of the Year.
However, in January, Ozil was involved in a bust-up with club and country team mate defender Per Mertesacker after the midfielder refused to thank the fans after a 6-3 defeat at Manchester City. This defeat was a sign of things to come, with Arsenal losing by big margins away at title rivals. Ozil had an awful game at Anfield where The Gunners lost 5-1, which resulted in the media scrutiny being firmly placed on him. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was forced to defend him a number of times, citing Ozil’s injuries and his struggle to adapt to the harshness and speed of the Premier League.
Despite this, the former Real Madrid midfielder impressed on his return from a hamstring injury in April, including an assist and a goal against Newcastle. He helped Arsenal to their first trophy in eight years, winning the FA Cup after beating Hull despite being 2-0 down within 10 minutes. After an up and down season, Ozil finished the season with seven goals and 12 assists. Ozil also helped Germany win the World Cup.
Already this season, Ozil has come under increasing pressure. He struggled in the first few games. Yet, in his typical inconsistent form, he then fired Arsenal to a stunning 3-0 victory at Aston Villa. Interestingly, in this game, Wenger switched Ozil from his usual position out wide left to his favourite position in the number 10 role. He scored a brace as Arsenal scored three goals in four minutes.
The overall verdict is that Ozil has asked more questions than he has answered. It remains to be seen whether he will be worth the £42 million paid for him. What we do know however is that Mesut Ozil is as unpredictable as anyone else in the league. Will he be a hit or a miss?