Mesut Ozil has just produced one of his best performances for Arsenal since completing his £42.4 million move from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013. A well-taken goal and an exquisite assist against Aston Villa this afternoon was the perfect way to mark his first Premier League start for four months.
The German World Cup winner, however, has an awful lot more work to do before he finally loses his status as an Arsenal flop.
While he may have performed well this afternoon, the fact Aston Villa were a complete shambles cannot be ignored - and neither can Ozil’s previous 18 months at the Emirates Stadium.
Bad performances stand out
How many times, hand on heart, can the Gunners faithful say they have been left satisfied after watching a Mesut Ozil performance since he arrived at their club? They would only need the fingers of one hand to count the displays which haven’t left them feeling a little deflated.
It’s certainly much easier to remember his poor performances. Last season’s dismal displays against Liverpool at Anfield and Bayern Munich in the Champions League knockout stages instantly spring to mind as being particularly awful.
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The reason why people are so hard on Ozil - and he has deserved the stick - is because they know he’s capable of so much more.
Ozil must perform against the top clubs
As we saw today, and as those who watch Spanish football witnessed for several years, Ozil is a player with remarkable technical ability who should be influencing games against all types of opponents - not just those hovering perilously close to the Premier League relegation zone.
Arsenal fans are desperate to see Ozil’s critics silenced and will use today’s match as evidence that the German has not been as bad as everyone else has made out.
But he needs to produce these standout performances against teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in the Premier League, and Europe’s giants in the Champions League.
Again, we all know he’s capable and only a fool would doubt Ozil’s talent.
Chance to kick on
The 26-year-old, thanks to today’s eye-catching display, now has the opportunity to get his career back on track. Less than two years ago he was widely considered the best playmaker on the planet. It would be great to see him hit those same heights again.
Next up for Arsenal and Ozil are Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Will Ozil again be the best player on the pitch - or will he leave those who label him an Arsenal flop with yet more ammunition?
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