Why Arsenal can’t Afford to Rely on Mesut Özil

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Mesut Özil has had a tumultuous summer so far. The former World Cup winner was unceremoniously dumped out in the group stages of this year’s World Cup. During the fallout, the 29-year-old has once again been unfairly targeted as the nation’s scapegoat.

Since then, Mesut Özil has removed himself from international selection contention on the grounds of racial and political tension. Now, he’s with the team in Singapore, committed to having a full pre-season under the new boss. Unai Emery will be expecting big things from his marquee player, but it may be too much to ask of him.

Here’s why Arsenal can’t rely on Mesut Özil this season.  

The social media statistics suggest it as do the attention of media coverage, Mesut Özil is Arsenal’s marquee player.  He’s the player that’s criticised first when the Gunners lose and the player that’s praised the most when they win. Having won the World Cup and played for Real Madrid, Özil’s resume speaks for itself. That’s why his contract extension earlier in the year was such a big deal for fans worldwide. However, for all his world-class ability, it may just be too much ask the German to carry Arsenal to a title challenge.

International Pressure

At the Bernabéu, Özil was a medium-sized fish in an ocean, at the Emirates, he’s a big fish in a small pond. Meaning all attention is focused on him, with his every move scrutinised by millions. His tirade against the German FA and his country’s race relations with surrounding nations has made him the centre of a political storm. Daily attacks against his character and playing ability will make it more difficult for the German to play to the peak of his powers this season.

It’s a well-known fact that Mesut isn’t one of the strongest players mentally. He regularly faces criticism and at times his body language has allowed others to see that it’s getting him down. It would be unfair of Unai Emery to expect Özil to lead the team especially when his name is being soured every single day in his home country.

Not that type of player…

The fact of the matter is, Mesut Özil has never been the type of player to grab a game by the scruff of the neck. He’s more of a backseat player that runs play in a way the naked eye can’t comprehend. His subtle movements, deft-defying flicks and ahead of the curve passes are what defines him as world class. Some appreciate that style of effectiveness, a lot don’t. Instead, they want him to ‘run’ more and show more ‘PASHUNN’! They want Özil to dribble past four players at a time and hit 30-yard screamers, not dictate the tempo of play – which is equally as important.

If Arsenal wants to win the league or at the very minimum compete for it, they must look to the likes of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to carry them through. They are more explosive players that can build upon the creative platform Mesut Özil provides for them every game.

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