Mesut Özil has received a lot of negative press since his arrival at the Emirates, and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry is the latest to criticise the German playmaker.
Henry hit out at the World Cup winner for his lack of end product, pointing out that he has “zero goals [and] two assists” following his eighth appearance against the other top four teams in an Arsenal shirt.
“I will single out Mesut Özil, who made his eighth appearance against a top-four team today,” Henry said on Sky Sports.
“Zero goals, two assists. That is not enough.”
While I don’t like to question the Arsenal legend, his comments are somewhat ridiculous. Firstly, the Frenchman got his facts wrong – with Özil having scored against Liverpool in our most recent clash.
On top of that, the best players get more attention during big games, so it’s only natural that they will see their impact diminished. Top teams always have a plan to deal with their opposition’s key men, and with Özil’s ability to change a game he certainly comes under that bracket.
Eden Hazard is a top talent, yet he was stifled during our clash with Chelsea. We identified a threat, and made sure he wouldn’t cause us any problems.
Henry suggested that Özil should be more like former Gunner Cesc Fabregas, and insisted that if he were in charge he would bench the ex-Real Madrid star for his old teammate (via the Metro).
Fabregas however, has worse stats than Özil when it comes to the top teams. The Spaniard has only provided a single assist in his four games against the teams in last season’s top four this term – against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, typically.
Judging by Henry’s own criteria – direct involvement with goals and assists against the other top four finishers from last season – Ozil is the more productive player.
Özil has been superb since recovering from a lengthy injury, and despite being an easy media target, he really looks to be justifying his massive price tag. Hopefully he can kick on from this season, as he has the potential to be an Arsenal great.