Ozil Amazing

September 25, 2013 in Premier League by Lizzi Hollis

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After the loss on the opening day of the season to Aston Villa the frustration amongnst Arsenal fans on the subject of the clubs transfer policy reached fever pitch, with only one new player bought in over the summer (Sanogo fronm Auxerre on a free) but knowing there was £70m to spend was a topic of constant contention. Although our season picked up pretty quickly after this with wins against Fenerbache to qualify for the Champions League group and two wins against Fulham and Spurs (Whoop!) it reached September and still the only addition to the team was to resign free agent Matheiu Flamini from Milan. So when on transfer deadline day we were suddenly linked with Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid I was excited, but confused. As far as I am concerned we already had a pretty decent midfield with the like of Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta. Surely the bigger needs were for a centre back or a decent striker to assist and challenge an albeit very on form Olivier Giroud? What if he got injured? Our only option upfront would be Bendtner; the laziest and most unachieving player to grace Arsenal in recent years (yes, this includes Francis Jeffers and Chamakh). All of these questions continued to swirl in my mind and on the Twittersphere until 10 minutes into the game the following Saturday against Sunderland when Ozil set up a goal for Giroud that I can only describe as ‘scoregasmic’. The link up play between the two of them was incredible and the cross into Giroud was perfect, allowing him to easily break through the Sunderland defence and slot the call past Kieren Westwood.  The German had an assist under his belt within minutes of his debut.

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I shouldn’t have been surprised. Ozil is the Assist King. He has consistently achieved the most assists of any player in any of Europe’s top 5 leagues in recent years, with a grand total of 72 before signing for Arsenal.  This form doesn’t seem to have been affected by his move to a totally new league as he now currently finds himself to have the most assists in the Premier League, having only played 2 games in the English top flight.

Aside from the fact that he is clearly a talented footballer when it comes to setting up goals in open play, Mesut proved on Sunday against Stoke that he is also a dab hand at creating chances from set pieces, something that Arsenal have been seriously lacking in recent years. The last couple of seasons I have watched in envy as players like Leighton Baines struck home free kicks past gobsmacked goal keepers from impossible angles and with unwavering confidence and wondered when the time would come for Arsenal to have a player than can perform on this level. Ozil may not have gotten himself on the Arsenal score sheet yet, but he made damn sure that Ramsey and Sagna were able to from two beautifully delivered free kicks and that fellow German Per Mertesacker was able to head the ball in to the net from a perfectly timed corner. Yes, that’s right, Arsenal scored from a corner. This is the same Arsenal who once went 76 consecutive corners without hitting the target in the 2011/2012 season.

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Finally, it’s not just his skill that has made a difference to the a team that now sits on top of the Premier League table 2 points clear, it’s his presence and his attitude. I really think it having a player on the field who is a well known, proven and world class player has made Arsenal a far more tightly run ship. From Mertesacker being far more dominant in his centre back position, Sagna shrugging off a usually static and sluggish performance to score and Aaron Ramsey being in the form of his life, it is all looking incredibly promising for us Gunners at the moment and I don’t think the arrival of Mesut Ozil is coincidental to this.

And so this new Arsenal magic has left me wondering how this turn of affairs has come about and whether it is down more to luck or judgement; did Arsene take a massive gamble that Ozil would enter the Arsenal squad and be the difference; has he finally learned that if he spends big money he’ll get a big return; or have we all been simply doubting his credibility over the last few years and actually he knew exactly what he was doing all along? If the latter is true then he is probably the most shrewd, intelligent and best manager in Europe at the moment. It shall remain to be seen at the end of the season whether any of the above is true, but at the moment, I am one very very excited Arsenal fan!ozil_arsenal_8_38111

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