Mesut Ozil may be back and fit but like Theo Walcott he has not walked back into the team. The German returned against Stoke over ten days ago having spent three months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage suffered in the 2-0 loss to Chelsea.
Since his club record arrival in 2013, the attacking midfielder has been an automatic selection when fit despite often lacking form that has been detrimental to the players confidence.
The resurgence of Santi Cazorla has been integral in Arsene Wenger’s men regaining traction on the top four and now it is difficult to see when Ozil comes back into the starting lineup on a permanent basis. This of course is no bad thing, every player should be made to work for their place in the squad and the German is no exception.
Cazorla has set a bench mark for Ozil, under pressure of the imminent return of the £42.5m star midfielder the Spaniard has been at his dynamic best. Showing his aptitude to playing in a deeper role which could bode well for the idea of both playing together in the same XI without shifting either onto the wing does not do either a favour.
To go back to the original question on how Ozil reintegrates into the first team setup on a regular basis, basically he needs to put in a solid performance against Brighton, work his bollocks off and prove to Wenger he is back to his very best. On his day there is no better No10 than Ozil. But we’ve seen a side of a player that has often led us to question his work ethic.
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One thing is for certain, he will never be Alexis Sanchez and constantly hound defenders, Ozil is a more subtle, intelligent player who would look to intercept or mark the space. The German can pass teams to death and can pick passes others wouldn’t even dream of attempting. That said, we need to see more of the 2014 World Cup winning Ozil who worked his bollocks off for his country. Then he can have a chance of displacing Cazorla who has been an absolute wizard.
It won’t happen over night, but if Ozil can prove his class this weekend against Brighton then it won’t be long until we see the attacking midfielder pulling the strings in attack again.