Why the time has come for Arsenal to drop ‘the weakest link’

By Mark Peters IN Archive,General - 20:15 Aug 25th 2015

When Arsene Wenger shelled out a club-record £42.4m to sign Mesut Özil from Real Madrid back in September 2013, supporters of the Gunners were genuinely excited.

The German international was expected to take the Premier League by storm, with his French manager certainly talking up his abilities:

“He is a great player, with proven quality at both club and international level. We have watched and admired him for some time as he has all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player.”

Unfortunately for Arsenal, however, the 26-year-old’s impact has been far less significant than they would have hoped for, particularly when compared to that of Santi Cazorla:

Santiago
Cazorla
versusMesut
Ozil
MIDPOSITIONMID
30Y 8MAGE26Y 10M
5FT 6INHEIGHT5FT 11IN
10ST 5LBWEIGHT11ST 5LB
 
PL | ARS | | ARS | PL
08/12 - 08/1508/12 - 08/15
103
STARTS
49
9170
MINS
PLAYED
4273
23
GOALS
9
30
ASSISTS
15
7
OPENING
GOALS
3
8
WINNING
GOALS
3
11
HOME
GOALS
7
12
AWAY
GOALS
2
1
HEADED
GOALS
1
L
10
R
12
GOALS
R/L FOOT
L
6
R
2
399
MINS
PER GOAL
475
10
TOTAL

It would be fair to say that Özil has failed to hit the heights on a regular basis during his spell in North London, only contributing directly to 24 top-flight goals.

His Spanish teammate, on the other hand, has either scored or assisted 53 times in the Premier League, though he has spent one extra season in England.

The diminutive Spanish international does of course take penalties, but he has also been operating from a deeper role in recent months.

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THOUGHTS

Arsenal fans may take the views of former Leicester City and Millwall striker Steve Claridge with a pinch of salt, but there is certainly a grain of truth to what he had to say about Özil on BBC Radio 5 Live last night:

“He is the weakest link mate because he just doesn’t do his job, he doesn’t do enough on the ball and he doesn’t do anything defensively.”

The World Cup winner appears to be untouchable in Wenger’s eyes, yet dropping him would inject the side with more pace and power if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought in.

The England international could operate down the right flank, allowing Aaron Ramsey to tuck inside and form a balanced midfield trio with Francis Coquelin and Cazorla.

Is Claridge being too harsh or has Özil been playing with the handbrake on during his time in North London? Would you drop the £42.4m man if you were in charge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section beneath.

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THE VERDICT ON NEWCASTLE V ARSENAL

Arsenal travel to Newcastle on Saturday lunchtime, having won each of their last seven games against the Magpies.

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5 Comments

  1. Sean Williams
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Arsenal’s problem is not Ozil. Don’t be misled into believing that. Arsenal’s problem is now Wenger. Thousand are beginning to realise Wenger’s belief that this squad can win the league, without some quality additions, is deluded. Sad but true. Wenger is letting the supporters and players like Ozil down.

  2. Brian Jenner
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Your comparison is selective and flawed: take Cazorla’s penalty kicks away and Ozil has a higher goal per minute tally and also has more assists per minutes played, a statistic which you failed to calculate.

  3. bob
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Ridiculous article. Another site for the newsnow ‘hide’ pile.

  4. Brad Vizek
    Posted August 25, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    How about Araenal start playing “Wingers” at Wings instead of MidFielders at wing. Seem a lineup w Walcott at top n Alexi and Ox and wings would be quite potent w Ozil and others passing to them. Heck, switch Ramsey, Carzola, and Coq so they all stay fresh. At times Giroud n Walcott back to wing…

  5. Micky
    Posted August 26, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    How about “why the time has come for the writer to get another job”