Mesut Ozil‘s performance for Arsenal against Everton displayed exactly why you are a fool to criticize him too quickly.
His Arsenal teammates helped him book their fans a day out at Wembley, as they beat Everton 4-1 in the FA Cup quarterfinals. But the 90 minutes of class from German Ozil was a perfect to reply to some criticism that has been unjust and exaggerated.
Ozil’s form in recent weeks hasn’t been bad, it’s just not been the consistently lethal form that so many expect from him. But in your first season in the physically demanding English Premier League, you can expect a fatigue of some kind to catch up with you at some point. Arsene Wenger gave Ozil a rest in the past two games, and it seems to have paid off.
Ozil was fantastic. It was not only an efficient performance, as he scored Arsenal’s first, but also an example of his world class skill.
The first goal was the finish of an experienced striker, as he placed the ball so perfectly in the corner. But you can look to his assist for the fourth goal, scored by Olivier Giroud, as the peak of his powers during the match. That 90 degree pass from where he was facing needed such accuracy and finesse that you couldn’t quite believe he’d taken it on, yet as he has done time and time again in his career, he found a superb assist to silence the doubters.
Those who criticize him are foolish, in my opinion. Ozil needed a rest, not the increase in effort and performance that the so called ‘experts’ have relentlessly demanded of him. The German, who has the most assists in the Champions League for the last five seasons, is world class.
It is foolish to ask him to put more effort in defensively, for that is not his game. Just like Robert Pires was for Arsenal, you give him that freedom to not exert energy too much going backwards, as his ability to change a game at the over end is unmatchable.
Having said that, the criticism of his effort in recent matches has been unjust. Against Bayern Munich, for example, a game where most believe he imploded, he ran a large enough distance to make it the third highest on the pitch. There is no question that the criticism has become a bandwagon for fans of other teams to jump on.
But it will be Ozil who has the last laugh now. He leads the EPL assists table, and the most chances created list across all of Europe’s top five leagues; to say he is underperforming on the basis of two or three games, after his first ever season with no winter break, is narrow-minded. Yet he still plays the man of the match role in a vital and crucial win to take them to an FA Cup semifinal. If Arsenal win a trophy this season, Ozil will be regarded as one of the main reasons.