It’s easy to target Mesut Ozil as the centerpiece of disappointment at Arsenal. His body language, his price tag and actually building him up to be the reason that Arsenal succeeded early in the season, making them favorites to win the league for a short while. But throwing all the blame on him is a bit too much.
In an interesting article by Zito Madu on SBnation, there’s quite a lot of focus on Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail who seems to have an agenda against Ozil, blaming almost everything wrong with Arsenal this season on the German midfielder.
While Ozil has been in poor form in 2014 (at least with the club; he’s doing quite well when he’s playing for Germany), ignoring other problems Arsenal have: From Olivier Giroud getting slightly worn down, to the injuries that have forced Wenger’s hand and show that he might have added one big name, but the depth is still a major issue, not to mention some of his decisions on the pitch in terms of positioning.
The aggressive, sensationalist headline is always better than trying to look at things with reason. Mesut Ozil left the match against Bayern Munich after 45 minutes with a hamstring injury. There’s a very good chance it had a lot to do with why he played so badly, but he wasn’t standing out in the grand scheme of things. Manuel Neuer, Bayern’s goalkeeper, had more passes than any other player on the Arsenal team. Ozil did disappear, but he wasn’t alone in a weak performance that once again Wenger tried to put on the backburner by focusing on Arjen Robben’s diving instead of his team’s terrible performance.
We’ve been taking shots at Ozil as well from time to time, and he deserved being criticized. He hasn’t played well in Arsenal’s big matches this season, but not on his own. The entire team has underperformed too many times – Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United.
However, it might say a lot more about this Arsenal team than Ozil himself, who has gotten around to achieving a thing or two in football over the years, that the Gunners keep failing in the most important and biggest of matches. Mesut Ozil is part of the problem, but not the problem himself.