If you want to raise my eyebrow, just write something about Mesut Özil being a flop. Whilst the German should have contributed more with goals and assists, nobody can deny that his arrival has transformed Arsenal completely. BÖ (before Özil), we had been known as a selling club, one that had to off-load their best players in order to survive during a trophy-less spell. However, since Özil’s arrival from Real Madrid in 2013 Arsenal have become a club that can both keep their best players attached to the club (Ramsey, Wilshere, Koscielny, Cazorla) and add more world-class players like Alexis Sánchez and Petr Čech. Also, since September 2013 Arsenal have won three domestic trophies – two FA Cup victories and Community Shield – which is more than any other English club in the respective period.
Now, I’m convinced we can expect a really great – and I’m talking about “Bergkamp-great” – season from Özil. Here are five reasons why.
1.He is going through his first preseason with Arsenal.
It’s a bit weird fact but Özil had to wait until his third season at Arsenal to go through a preseason. He was signed from Real Madrid after the season had started in 2013 while his World Cup triumph with Germany forced him to miss the start of our 2014-15 campaign. Now, Mesut is with his team-mates from the very beginning which bodes well for his fitness levels and continuity throughout the squad.
2.He’s getting along with Santi Cazorla.
If there was a mouth-watering image after Mesut’s arrival to the Emirates, it was him and Cazorla creating chance after chance for our forwards. However, it didn’t click immediately – both Santi and Mesut feel most comfortable in the No. 10 role so neither of them could produce their best football with one another.
However, with Cazorla in a deeper role, both players are finally capable of complementing each other. Their performance against Everton – even if the match may have been just a preseason friendly – suggests that we will see a lot of chances for our forwards created by our two magicians.
3.His best years are yet to come.
At the age of 27, Özil still has his best years ahead of him. He is an intelligent player with a visible desire to improve and adapt as you might have noticed in the second half of 2014-15.
4.Theo Walcott, Alexis Sánchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will give him a lot more to play with next season.
You might have stumbled upon a shocking fact: Mesut Özil has created 130 chances in the league since his arrival from Real Madrid but only 14 of those were converted. (according to this Tweet on Twitter.com) The main problem is, as you might have guessed, that Özil’s current team-mates don’t have the conversion rate to match the German’s passing ability. Olivier Giroud has been our main striker but his lack of pace means he can’t exactly out pace defenders to Özil’s through balls.
Things might change very soon though. It seems that Arsene Wenger is ready to give Theo Walcott a real chance to shine as a central forward (via squawka.com) given that the pacey Englishman has scored four goals in the last two official matches and added a lovely goal against Everton in Singapore. Walcott enjoys his first preseason in Özil’s company and their understanding on the pitch should result with dozens of created (and hopefully converted) chances. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another pacey winger that should flourish thanks to the German’s presence. Perhaps the two most important goals of our 2013-14 FA Cup victorious campaign – Podolski’s goal against Liverpool and Arteta’s penalty against Everton – came after Özil had released Chamberlain on the right flank.
Finally, Alexis Sánchez. The Chilean had a great debut season and with a relationship developing between the two, he will get even better.
5.More luck with injuries this time.
Özil had to miss some important matches in 2013-14 due to the hamstring injury picked up against Bayern München and his second season was even worse in terms of injuries as he spent three months on the sidelines.
If injuries are avoided, Özil will prove why Arsene Wenger made him the most expensive Arsenal signing ever. He has everything a world-class footballer should have – pace, movement, creativity, technique, passing, shooting and, above all, intelligence. Now, it’s up to Lady Luck to keep him away from the treatment table.