Arsenal legend Martin Keown feels that star midfielder Mesut Ozil isn’t doing enough defensive work that is expected of a modern playmaker, as per Evening Standard.
The German international was signed by the North London club in a club record deal of £42.4 million back in 2013 and the midfielder has been the engine of the Gunners attack since.
The 28-year-old has already scored 9 goals this season, making this his best season at the North London club thus far in terms of goals.
His offensive contributions have mostly been impressive but the issue with Ozil is when he’s not at his best offensively, the German becomes a baggage to the team thanks to his lack of defensive discipline.
The former defender claims the German midfielder needs to contribute more on the defensive side, while also suggesting that it’s an issue in big games. Speaking to Evening Standard in an exclusive column, he said:
“He’s a sort of icing-on-the-cake type player.”
“Arsenal need more from him, particularly from a defensive point of view. You could say he’s in there for his creativity but the likes of (Dennis) Bergkamp, (Thierry) Henry, (Robert) Pires – they offered creativity but they offered just as much work rate.”
“A modern day player has to be equipped to do both and I don’t know that Arsenal get enough from Ozil when they don’t have the ball.”
“Maybe I’m being unfair, it can be difficult to recover back, but you see other players doing that. His body language is an issue and he’s suffered lately, particularly in the big games.”
When Ozil is in-form, he can trouble even the best of defenders without a doubt but that’s only one side of the coin. However, when the playmaker is out of form he completely disappears from the game like the Chelsea game a fortnight ago.
If it’s a one-time occurrence it would have been fine but throughout his Arsenal career, the German has failed to turn up in big games quite often and with no defensive dimension in his play, he often becomes a liability.
It’s a headache for the manager too, as you are not quite sure which Ozil will turn up and that’s the reason Wenger often refuses to bench him hoping the right-Ozil will turn up. If he doesn’t improve this aspect of his game then it’s time to say goodbye, as there are other players who can match his offensive abilities while also providing some strength.
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