Arsenal produced an impressive display against champions Manchester City on Saturday, drawing 2-2 and creating opportunities to win it.
There were a lot of positives for Arsene Wenger to take from the performance - but one negative in the shape of Mesut Ozil.
Failed to deliver?
The Gunners spent a lot of money bringing the German international playmaker to the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2013, but in truth he’s failed to live up to the expectations of those at the club.
And, looking at his most recent performance in particular, the former Real Madrid star reached a new low with his performance against the Citizens when others rose to the occasion.
Indeed, the performance of Jack Wilshere was particularly encouraging for the Gunners. Aaron Ramsey didn’t have his best game but was still involved throughout, and Alexis Sanchez was a constant problem for the opposition. Danny Welbeck also showed plenty of positives with his movement on debut.
That just leaves Ozil as the ‘other’ attacking option on the day, and he really did fail to deliver. Literally.
Passing is usually his strongest attribute, but it was so far off throughout that you’d have to wonder what Ozil could have done to have been substituted. Some of his long balls in particular were very poor.
Wenger has been criticised in the past for not reacting to situations in games, with pre-meditated substitutions rather than taking off weak links and bringing on players to change the game. This was another example of that appearing to be the case.
This season, Ozil has made three Premier League appearances, alternating on the midfield flanks in a 4-2-3-1 formation. That appears to have played its part in his lack of influence.
Last season, he scored five goals and assisted nine for the Gunners in 25 appearances, according to WhoScored, and whilst the new season is still young, he will need to pick up his game if he is to have such an impact.
At £42.5million, Arsenal fans will want to see much more. And, sooner or later, Wenger’s patience is also going to dwindle. A player can only produce so many performances like the one against the Citizens on Saturday.
The impressive displays of Alexis have only served to pose further questions about just how much more Wenger should be getting from the 25-year-old, who lest we forget won the World Cup with his country in the summer.
For all the negatives, Ozil is a class act. He can unlock a defence and link-up play beautifully when on form. That's exactly what Arsenal were doing on a number of occasions against City.
The problem is, the German wasn't involved in the good work his side were doing. Selections should be made on performance and not reputation, and Wenger should drop him now.
He won't, of course, and if he doesn't, then the playmaker can only have one more chance to deliver the goods - potentially in the Champions League this week.
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