Mesut Ozil: Analysing his omission from the Arsenal squad

By Henry Jennings

A modern-day enigma, Mesut Ozil is a man who often polarises opinion. Famed for his creative skills, Ozil is widely regarded as one of the finest creators of his generation.

After all he has topped the assist charts in each league he has played in- the Bundesliga, La Liga and the Premier League, you would be naive to dismiss his undeniable talent. So why are Arsenal, a side who struggle with chance creation, a side who’s managed fewer shots than newly promoted Aston Villa regularly ostracising Mesut Ozil? 

Registering just four appearances this campaign, Ozil made only his second league start in Arsenal’s last outing against Wolves after an impressive display against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup.

It was evident to see what he brought to a disjointed Arsenal side- a link player to connect midfield to attack. The introduction of Ozil encouraged a formation change to facilitate him in the ‘no.10’ role going from a rigid 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1. In his reintroduction into the team after a month-long layoff against Liverpool Ozil recorded a 92% pass completion rate, two key passes and one exquisite assist for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, this acted as a stark reminder of his quality. 

His omission from the side comes from a suspected fall out with head coach Unai Emery. 2018 was an eventful year in Ozil’s footballing career. In February 2018, Özil signed a new contract with Arsenal until 2021 following prolonged negotiations. In April, Arsene Wenger, the manager he originally signed for at Arsenal and re-signed with a few months before, announced he was leaving the club. Just two months later in June Özil’s German side were embarrassingly knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage. In July, Özil announced his retirement from international football as a result of racist harassment he received due to his Turkish heritage throughout the world cup. 

Consequently, Ozil was going through a turbulent time when Emery’s reign at Arsenal began in the summer of 2018. Under Wenger, Ozil was a lynchpin in the team, the nucleus of the Arsenal midfield, this was soon to change under Emery’s control. Ozil misses more games than he plays under the Spaniard’s regime.

When quizzed about it Emery infers it’s for ‘tactical reasons’ which to an extent may be true. Emery often alludes to the importance of ‘hard work’ and ‘intensity’ to his game plan, characteristics in which Ozil may not excel. His insistence on playing 4-3-3 also doesn’t really leave a role for Mesut Ozil, however, given Arsenal’s alarming lack of guile and invention in the middle, it seems a no brainer to at least include the German in the matchday squad, surely?

The general consensus among the Arsenal fans is that Ozil should be starting more games and as the pressure intensifies on Emery, he finds himself in a position where he may have to include Ozil to ease tension- even if it’s against his will.

This image was modified by Overtime Online under the Creative Commons License.

This image was modified by Overtime Online under the Creative Commons License.

Sub-edited by Tom Kelly

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