He has been criticised for his lack of fight, commitment and consistency and it looks like Mesut Ozil will be under the microscope again this season.
Ozil has a glorious talent, with a vision that few can equal, he is, on his day, a World-class player but what is also clear is that the sublime gift he possesses just completely disappears during some games.
Against Stoke the German looked flat and disinterested, he pottered about like he didn’t have a care in the World and had no sense of urgency, lacking genuine desire, especially when not in possession.
Wenger needs to get the whip out and inform Mr.Ozil that World class players actually track back and dig in when they’ve lost the ball or play breaks down. All being said and done, we now have to look for reasons why Ozil was a ‘no show’ for large parts of the Stoke game.
Could it be he wants to leave? It was reported recently that he was fishing for move back to Barcelona but the Catalans will hardly be beating his door down after this insipid performance.
Then we might speculate that he is unsettled by the lack of progress in his contract negotiations. If that’s the case, Ozil would be wise to remind himself that he is a professional footballer and as a result, his concentration should be about the issues on the pitch, not off them.
He could take a leaf out of team mate Olivier Giroud’s book and showcase his talents every time he plays, even if it’s off the bench. Martin Keown, who always gave a 100% was obviously frustrated with Arsenal’s luxury item and demanded he “put in a shift".
He added that players like Bergkamp, Viera and Henry were not adverse to tracking back when not in possession. Speaking to BT Sport, he said: “They gave you everything, both sides of the game, they put a foot in and could play, Arsenal can’t afford someone like Ozil".
Ozil was guilty of not covering as Stoke swept forward and the German alongside Xhaka were the main culprits for the only goal of the game.
Keown went on “he wants to have a good look at himself, he’s not kidding us watching the game, it’s not real. It felt like he was going through the motions a lot of the time."
Harsh or spot on? Well actually, Keown is right on the money, far too many times Ozil has been allowed to plod through important games without delivering and someone should have a strong word in his ear about his woeful performances and about getting his hands dirty when things are not going to plan.
Of course Ozil’s performance wasn’t the only reason we lost. We were sloppy and unimaginative, preferring to play square balls instead of going direct but we were counting on Ozil, as a creative midfielder, to pick the game up by the scruff of the neck and carve out opportunities.
The truth is that he didn’t, so unless things change Ozil may find himself either on the bench or getting his transfer wish. Wilshere at least plays with undeniable passion and always puts a foot in, sometimes to his own detriment yet he is cast aside on loan.
Wenger urgently needs to address the affordability of this so called luxury item, sharpen him up or just ship him out.