Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil
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Mesut Ozil

Current Club: Arsenal.

Previous Clubs: Real Madrid, Werder Bremen, FC Schalke 04.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Germany 91 caps 23 goals.

Trophies Won: World Cup 2014. FA Cup 2014, 2015, 2017. Spanish La Liga 2011/12. Spanish Cup 2010/11. Spanish Super Cup 2012/13. German Cup 2008/09. Community Shield 2015, 2016.

Football has not been that good to Mesut Ozil in recent years. A few years back he was a hero to the Real Madrid fans, who were disgusted when their assist king was sold to Arsenal, and a World Cup winner. Nowadays he has become a media target, who seem to think he is not trying, ignoring the stats that show the effect he has on the game and that he covered more distance than anyone else in the team. Instead they concentrate on anything negative, from the way he runs, to the way he looks or his body language. Anything to drag him down.

Even when he chases back to cover for the full back getting dragged out of position, it is ignored by the commentator, who will then pick up on the fact he is walking while catching his breath afterwards, pointing out that he looks disinterested in a move. It has become a full-on character assassination of Ozil. It seems to be just because of the way he looks and moves that he has become a target. Ozil does not look or move like he is trying, according to them.

No matter how many chances he creates, no matter how much distance he covers or how much work he puts in, he is heavily criticised for a perceived lack of effort. Do people not realise how much effort it takes to put the ball on a dime multiple times a match? Ozil is technically superb, that is not just natural or lucky, it is down to hard work on the training pitch to refine his technique, to improve his passing and to learn to spot the runs.

Even with his country it has become a fashion to pick on him, when he is the one creating good opportunities that others miss, somehow that is his fault. It is odd how he has become a target, but it does seem to be purely due to the way he looks and moves. His intelligence and vision means he has often done his movement before spectactors have looked to where he is, as he has got himself into space early, ready to receive the ball, rather than chased it after it has played. For me that is a sign of a quality player, something that was held up as a reason why Dennis Bergkamp was so great a player, that reading of the game.

Ozil is not a hard tackling midfielder, he is not a box-to-box type. He is a very cultured and silky creative attacking midfielder, who is at his best when the fulcrum of the play with freedom to move where he wants to. With his intelligent movement and vision, the key to using Ozil is just to get the ball to him as often as possible, then give him runners to pick out. If he has movement, then he will find them with a precision pass, with just the right pace, onto the correct foot.

He is weak in the air, he can be brushed off the ball a little easily, lightweight is an accusation that can be pointed at him to a degree, and he does not have lightning pace. Ozil has the skill to beat a man, but lacks the pace to do any more than create an opportunity to pass or shoot. He is not going to get clear of a defender and sprint away from him. It is just about getting half a yard to make something happen. And he usually does make something happen.