With Mesut Ozil entering his third season in the red and white of Arsenal, it is possible that this could be the year that the German makes his real mark on English football. Once sought after as being the best young talent in European football, Ozil moved from Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga to Real Madrid where he won La Liga in 2011/12. In 2009, Ozil became renowned in England after his stunning performance in the under 21 European Championships for Germany where they beat England 4-0 in the final.
Some have argued that Ozil's career has taken a backward step since his move to north London. These statements are simply untrue when one analyses the statistics of his career at the Gunners to date.
Last season the German scored five goals in all competitions and had six assists. These numbers may seem down from the time he spent at Real Madrid, but arguably one could say that the pace and physicality of the Premier League has been a shock to Ozil, and he has had to get to grips with the different styles of football.
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When Ozil played for Real Madrid, he was playing for one of Europe's top three clubs. Alongside Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Madrid were arguably the top team in Europe. Ozil's ability to assist the goals of Crisitano Ronaldo made him an instant favourite at the Bernebeu.
However, La Liga is a completely different type of league to the Premier League. The pitches are bigger and the style of play suited Ozil as he had a lot more possession of the ball and time to pick out key passes.
The Premier League was certainly a shock for the German World Cup winner when he first arrived. His lethargic style of play was heavily criticised towards the end of his Real Madrid career and it appeared that he had carried it into the Premier League.
Arsenal fans were angered on many occasions as they felt the German was not putting in a shift for the team and that his defensive work was non existent. Arguably both of these points were true and even Ozil will admit to being completely shocked by the speed, tempo and physicality of the Premier League.
With the 2014/15 season, Arsenal fans were treated to a different Ozil following his return from injury. The German appeared to be physically bigger and fitter than he had been pre injury. Arsene Wenger praised the German for his tireless work put in at the Arsenal gym in order to improve his physicality and the results have been there for all to see. Ozil now works harder to win the ball back and is one of the Gunners' players who covers the most ground per game.
Speking in April 2015, Ozil stated that his Arsenal career was a shock as he was not used to the League but also commented on his slow start to the 2014/15 season. “I was exhausted at the start of the season,” he said.
“I started playing professional football at the age of 16 and had never really suffered many serious injuries. I guess 10 years of consistently playing football took its toll. I was also struggling with the physicality of this league.”
One thing's for certain, is that the German's quality is there for all to witness in every game he plays. Ozil, alongside Santi Cazorla are the two main players in the Arsenal midfield who keep the game ticking.
Ozil dictates the tempo of the game and his ability to feed killer passes to his strikers is one of his main assets. With the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, there is a real chemistry forming. Ozil will be able to benefit from the pace Walcott offers and his ability to get behind the defensive line is important for Ozil's game as he can deliver the final pass.
With two FA Cups already on his Arsenal CV, Ozil will want desperately to add a Premier League title to that. The 2015/16 season looks set to be a tight affair as the top four clubs have strengthened their squads but arguably Arsenal, if they keep all their main players fit can challenge for the top prize.
What's for certain is that Ozil will be a key component if the Gunners want to claim the Premier League and progress in the Champions League. He is one of if not the best player in his position in the world and on his day he can be mesmerising. Arsenal fans will be hoping that he can stay injury free and combine with his front men in the coming season.
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