Passion never burns through Mesut Ozil, or at least it doesn’t seem to. An enigma when trying to decipher based on what’s seen on the outside, but it wasn’t hard to read his thoughts as he was taken off the pitch at Anfield, being one of the main culprits in a humiliating performance that might cost Arsenal more than just three points.
In Liverpool’s third and fourth goals it was Mesut Ozil who was easily dispossessed en route to counter attacks that gave Liverpool a 4-0 lead before 20 minutes were over. While the first two goals came from awful coverage in set pieces, the rest of the match was about Liverpool showing aggression that Arsenal couldn’t cope with, and later on speed that cut through their defense, the best in the Premier League going into the match.
It’s not fair blaming Ozil for Arsenal simply losing their heads in 20 minutes and collapsing to the ground like a badly built house of cards, but managerial mistakes (like starting Wilshere in the middle of the park, where he’s not as good as he is on the wing, with the same goes for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain only reversing the positions) can’t be the sole blame for such a performance that might be the catalyst for an epic collapse. Mikel Arteta was dispossessed and overpowered whenever Liverpool stepped on the pedal, and the same goes for Ozil, and Cazorla, while Olivier Giroud can be left out of the equation for having 0 effect on the match.
Arsenal players lost their concentration after conceding in the first minute: Some thought it wasn’t a foul on Suarez, others thought it was an offside from which Skrtel scored the opening goal with. It didn’t matter. The Gunners seemed to be stuck in “we got screwed” mode, which didn’t help their concentration in the second goal, nine minutes later, as their zone coverage failed with Skrtel heading in his second goal, wide open with no one to bother him.
Instead of thinking, Arsenal just ventured forward like lambs to the slaughter. They attacked without any idea behind it, neglecting to keep an eye on Liverpool’s counter attacking options, as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny moved too far up the pitch, leaving the backside too vulnerable to turnovers against the lightning quick Liverpool attack. It ended that badly.
But back to Ozil, who had a huge part to play in the way Arsenal looked before leaving in the 63 minutes. Things did look better after he left, but that had more to do with Liverpool feeling comfortable with their win, not Arsenal actually improving. They still played in the same predictable, slow manner; there just wasn’t the same kind of intensity to hold them accountable for it.
Ozil has a knack for disappearing in the big matches he hasn’t been able to shake off. This keeps happening to him in the Premier League, and it’s been two months since he last scored for the gunners, adding only two assists in the eight matches he’s played since. His arrival at the beginning of the season was a declaration of a new age, a new way for the gunners. He’s been remarkable at times but non-existent too often as well, something that was part of his M.O. for Real Madrid. This, if he knows it or not, is the wrong time to once again fall into his disappearing act.