All Guns Blazing: Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil is delivering a firm answer to the doubters
- Credit: PA WIRE
In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Uche Amako says the club’s record signing is making the most of his peak years.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Some Arsenal fans will steadfastly argue the Mesut Ozil we are currently watching has been here along. But now, unequivocally, even the German’s greatest critics can’t deny that the Premier League is finally seeing the best of the 27-year-old.
Ozil has been in scintillating form for Arsenal in recent weeks. Even before his goal against Dinamo Zagreb last night, yet another inch-perfect cross onto the head of Oliver Giroud in the weekend defeat to West Bromwich Albion meant it was the seventh consecutive league match he had provided an assist – a Premier League record.
He has the most assists of any player in Europe’s top five leagues this season – 11.
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And he is top of the charts in Europe with the most chances created – 56.
Those were the kind of numbers expected when Ozil arrived in 2013 but, after a bright start to life at the Emirates, he hadn’t really had a defining moment.
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But this season, we are seeing the full repertoire of a player finally adjusted to English football. A big factor is that he managed to get his first full pre-season with the club. In 2013, he arrived late and after the season had already started. In 2014, he was rushed back too early after winning the World Cup with his national team and suffered a knee injury.
This year, there were no such distractions. Benefiting from time spent in the gym during that injury lay-off, he’s stronger and more robust. He’s able to cope with the ferocious intensity of the Premier League and his touch, vision, awareness and passing are coming to the fore.
An accusation levelled at Ozil was his lack of big game influence. His dissection of the Manchester United midfield was arguably the best individual performance of the season. His goal and work ethic against Bayern Munich also silenced his critics.
Reports over the weekend suggested Arsenal are keen to reward their £42.5million signing with a new contract until 2019.
The club is often accused of not having enough leaders. But in Ozil, they have a technical leader. You won’t see him shouting or being animated. He exerts his influence by dictating the match. When Arsenal are flowing, Ozil is invariably at the heart of it.
And if he signs a new deal, Gooners are in for a treat because they’ll be watching one of the finest talents in the world performing in his peak years.
Follow me @ucheamako