Mesut Ozil may not be at the peak of his powers as we type this, but no one can rule out the fact that his eye for a killer pass is practically unmatched. For a team like Arsenal that does not have spare Mesut Ozils lying around – just look at their chances created column this season- the least one would expect is that he makes the team, not necessarily the first eleven. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
Since the resumption of football after the deadly coronavirus outbreak, Mesut Ozil has played a total of zero minutes. He has been fit, he has been sighted frequently in training but he has not played a single minute. Fine, Arsenal has gone on to win the FA Cup and Community Shield without and in those games, we could see that Arsenal have more or less been bypassing the midfield, sending the ball speedily to the left and hoping that Aubameyang does the business. That can only work for so long.
Arsenal has had a very productive transfer window, securing reinforcements where needed but apart from Dani Ceballos – who plays in a deeper position compared to Ozil- there is practically no creativity in the side. The start of the season goes on to buttress this point- Arsenal sit 18th in terms of numbers of shots with 41 only behind West Brom and Crystal Palace and have gone on to score 8 goals.
Bukayo Saka, the promising young player is developing in leaps and bounds – see his man of the match performance against West Ham- but expecting him to be the focal (and only) creative spark in this re-emerging Arsenal side may ultimately be a little too much at this stage of his career.
So, when did the love between Arsenal and Ozil turn sour?
Ozil appearances under Arteta before the coronavirus outbreak: 12.
Ozil appearances under Arteta after the coronavirus outbreak: 0.
Arteta having to make a sudden u-turn after playing Ozil for consistent games before the pandemic speaks volumes.
For someone that is Arsenal’s highest paid player with wages of 350,000 weekly, leaving him out of not just the Premier League but the Europa League as well speaks volumes especially considering the fact that most teams- Arsenal included- use the Europa league competition to give game time to players that do not regularly feature in the Premier League.
Some quarters think that the reason behind Ozil’s omission could be his comments concerning Muslims allegedly being treated poorly in China.
One thing is for certain, making your most expensive player and creator unavailable for the next five or months unavailable speaks volumes and it would not be surprising if the reasons behind that are beyond the activities on the football pitch.