Mesut Ozil divides opinion amongst football fans.

It's time for Mesut Ozil to grab the title by the scruff of its neck

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20 months ago, Mesut Ozil was preparing to win the World Cup Final, yet despite being a champion of the world the Gunners man still divides opinion. 

Before the match against Watford, Ozil performed the same ritual he does before every game. He looks down at the ground with his hands out in front of him and he prayed. 

"I always do that before we go out [on the pitch]," Ozil said, six years ago as quoted by Tagesspiegel. "I pray and then my teammates know that they can not talk to me in such a short time."


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Not too dissimilar to the 50,000 Arsenal fans crammed into the Emirates before the start of the match. Except the Gunners supporters are praying their German international scores the winning goal to bring their cup ambitions a little bit closer to reality. 


Nevertheless it didn't happen, and it rarely happens that Ozil scores a big goal in a big match. That's partly the frustration Arsenal fans have about their £42.5 million midfielder. When is this guy - who is a former Real Madrid player - and has a World Cup medal in his back-pocket, going to grab a big game by the scruff of its neck. 

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People will point to the fact he scored in a very important game at Old Trafford not too long ago. Yet it proved to be a consolation. Yes it was a big match, but it wasn't a big goal. 

It's not only the statistics that get some Arsenal fans seething, but it's his whole demeanour. Why a lot of people have fallen in-love with Jamie Vardy and many of Leicester's players, is the appetite they have for the game. Fighting and challenging for every second ball - not giving up.


Nowadays, it looks like to some people that fans are complaining just for the sake of it. However, it's actually a lot easier to please fans than you think.

If you scan down the bottom of the Premier League table for a minute, you will discover Newcastle and Aston Villa. The homes to two sets of fans who are disgruntled to say the least. And who wouldn't be if you were a supporter of a team in that position. 

The Geordies have been heavily criticised for having unrealistic expectations, especially when Alan Pardew departed. And a few months ago it looked like the critics were being vindicated when Pardew's Crystal Palace sat level with fourth place Tottenham in December. 

Since then the Eagles have capitulated and won a Premier League game in 2016. But the point is, it wasn't just about the manager for Newcastle fans, it was how the players were responding under the Palace boss.

From the view in St James' Park it looked to the fans like the players were gutless and didn't care. Sometimes, just a bit of passion, a big tackle or chasing a lost cause to win a throw-in is enough to please fans. 

You only have to watch Leicester, who epitomise all those attributes, to understand what I'm talking about. And the reaction from the Kop at Anfield to Jon Flangan's monstrous tackle on former Liverpool player Raheem Sterling two weeks ago.

With Ozil, Arsenal fans feel like he should be doing more. He shouldn't be shrugged off the ball so easily, why is he excused from fighting for a second ball like Vardy. Shouldn't he be doing it more often than the Premier League's top scorer - considering he cost £41.5 million more? 

Arsenal v Watford - The Emirates FA Cup Sixth Round


Of course Arsene Wenger's talisman can't be a bad player and he isn't. He's worth £42.5m for a reason. 

The one game where you perhaps could suggest Ozil did grab a big game by the scruff of its neck would be Manchester United at home. 

Theo Walcott led the line, and it wasn't a coincidence that Ozil had probably one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt that day. 

He is often muscled off the ball when the likes of Olivier Giroud plays up top, because the Frenchman doesn't stretch the play like Walcott does. This allows Ozil more time and space on the ball. 

At home, the former Werder Bremen midfielder has improved on last season. Providing assists in big games against Tottenham and Manchester City to name a few. 

It's the tough away matches that catch Ozil out. He failed to score or assist away from home against Chelsea, Southampton, Liverpool and more recently Tottenham. 

This has brought some fans to question whether Ozil should be starting in these big games. Is he too weak? Does he really care enough? It's difficult to question whether he truly cares or not because you can only ask him that. Nevertheless, you don't win a World Cup without caring. 

It's more likely that he is frustrated with the players around him. He was used to providing the pass to Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema and now he is trying to assist Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck. 

Just because you're frustrated however, doesn't mean you should stop fighting for the second ball. In fairness, to the Arsenal man, he isn't the only one and has improved in the distance he covers in matches. 

Arsenal v Swansea City - Premier League

It's also important to remember, not many Arsenal players turn up in the big away matches. You can't just point the finger at one individual, it's a collective effort. If Ozil's teammates aren't closing every ball down, then there isn't much point in him chasing shadows. 

Vardy and Shinji Okazaki's pressing is infectious at Leicester. It gets players like Marc Albrighton and Danny Drinkwater to close down people too. If Giroud isn't doing it at Arsenal then the effectiveness of Ozil closing down would be significantly weakened. 

Arsenal's no.10 cost a lot of money, and he could still break Thierry Henry's assist record, but if he wants to be remembered as a Gunners legend, it will be the impact he has on the big matches and the titles he brings to the Emirates which he will be judged on. 

Should Arsenal consider moving on Ozil in the summer? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!

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