Thursday, February 20, 2014

If Ozil Fails

It's been a difficult first season at Arsenal for Mesut Ozil. After starting the first few games brightly with several assists, he's looked increasingly lethargic and almost disinterested on the pitch. His lackadaisical penalty kick in yesterday's Champion's League loss to Bayern Munich was emblematic.

Like many other players new to the Premiership, Ozil may just need more time to settle into the English style of play. And naturally it was a lot easier to become the European leader in assists when passing the ball into Christiano Ronaldo, as opposed to Olivier Giroud. He is, after all, primarily an elegant distributor of passes, rather than a hard-running workhorse of a player. And Arsenal don't have the players up front to make best use of Ozil's skill set.

However, if Ozil is not able to find his game at Arsenal before the end of this season, the repercussions for the club could be quite significant. It was a big deal when Ozil signed for the Gunners because it sent a message to the footballing world that Arsenal are still a big, ambitious club that could attract the best players in the world. But should Ozil fail at the Emirates, how much of the blame will be laid at the feet of the club for "wasting" or "misusing" his obvious and undeniable talent? More to the point, if Ozil fails, will that send out another message to the footballing world that the best players should stay away from Arsenal. To my mind, that is a much bigger concern than Ozil's current lack of form.

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