Dawning a New Era at Arsenal: Ozil The White Elephant
Numbers don't lie
The Emirates, had proven a suitable home despite its ups and downs for the man who many believe is a god in his position. You can ask Cristiano Ronaldo, in his three seasons spent at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ozil, provided 80 assists in all competitions (competitive and non-competitive) with 27 of those going to Ronaldo alone.
As a result it was not surprising that Ronaldo openly expressed his anger when Real Madrid sold the mercurial play-maker to Arsenal.
Ozil and Ronaldo
Establishing himself as the master of the business in the English Premier League did not take him long and currently has assisted 73 goals in all competitions (competitive and non-competitive) for the North London side.
However,since signing that lucrative contract in January 2018, to say he has only been a shadow of his former self is an understatement.
Ozil isn't only Arsenal's highest earning player on 350,000 pounds a week with 2 and a half years left on his contract, he is also the Premier League's second highest paid player.
The irony is he experienced an extraordinary surge in form in the games leading to his signing of his big deal.
It felt like the old Ozil was back and then soon after it fizzled out.
The 30-year-old created eight goals last season but has just one assist to his name in 2018-19.
To put the stats in perspective, Ozil has provided a goal or assist every 245.25 minutes in the Premier League under Emery, in comparison to one every 180.33 minutes last year under Wenger.
After averaging 3.5 chances created per 90 minutes under Wenger last season, that figure has fallen to 2.1 per 90 minutes this term.
Ozil averaged 1.5 successful dribbles per 90 minutes in 2017-18, which came at a success rate of 71.4%.
This season, both numbers have dropped, with Ozil completing fewer dribbles (one), at a worse success rate (62.5%).
The numbers are a reflection of how his game has plateaued over the past 18 months.
On a golden day Ozil will serve the entire globe a football tutorial on how to unlock a defense and he will put the sauce on it but those days have been few and far between for the master of the pass.
He requires everything to be perfect and in sync to enable him have a good game.
When a game doesn’t go his way offensively he is a liability to the team because he has never shown true desire his entire career, right from Schalke to Arsenal, to improve his work rate and defense.
When he is the mood he will put in the shift but times have changed in North London and Wenger isn’t around to pamper and stroke his ego.
As things stand he is a leftover of the Wenger regime.
New King, New Requirements
Unai Emery has arrived with an iron fist and is making a statement to Stan Kroenke and the Arsenal board that the flamboyant Turkish-German has run his race and needs to pack up.
He will not tolerate players who will not put in the effort when games become battles and insists on building the future around a group and not just an individual.
You don’t need to look hard to figure out who the key cogs to the Emery Army are.
Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira keep the engine running while one of Wenger's big scoops Saed Kolasinac will continue to dominate majority of the Premier league's defenses because he is the stealth guy and teams still haven’t woken up to his potency.
Prior to Saturday nights clean 2- 0 performance at the Emirates Arsenal had won just once in 14 Premier League appearances against Chelsea.
Key detail: They did it without Mesut Ozil, as a matter of fact he was an unused substitute buried deep on the bench.
Emery reechoed the message again just in case the clubs top shots didn’t get the memo, I won’t field a player who does not embody the hard work and grind that underpins my philosophy.
It’s obvious that Emery has a plan for what he wants his side to look like and accomplish and it won’t be built around one man's mood swings.
The rest of the squad have bought into the manger's vision and the once highly coveted Ozil is being left behind by the pack.
There are clubs that will genuinely love to have Ozil because he is a legend and still has loads of football to offer if his interest can be stirred enough but how many clubs will be willing to take up his wages while making room for his deficiencies?
Are the Arsenal board even in support of Emery’s stance to offload their crown jewel?
The questions remain plenty for the Arsenal family.
I am going to make a wild claim and say that Ozil has been in a funk for a couple of years now.
Perhaps since he departed Real Madrid and it has woven itself into his game gradually.
Like I explained in my opening line Arsenal is his “ideal home but not his dream home.
He has had a turbulent couple of years which reached a climax when he fell out with the German National team following criticisms for his showing at Russia 2018 World Cup.
Not to say that he was the reason the Germans failed but he was a letdown based on his level of Championship experience.
He proceeded to retire from the national team and one would have thought that the decision would free him to concentrate his energies into the Arsenal course.
I am sure Ozil really wants to contribute positively to the club's agenda but he has become accustomed to the plan being woven around him and this new way of doing things just don’t mesh well with his skill set and game style.
Even some of his most loyal fans have questioned his passion for the game.
In the past his talent has always overridden his work ethic and his staggering assist to goals converted ratio meant that coaches had no option but to accept his lack of effort on defense.
Never mind the fact that Unai Emery keeps insisting that Ozil remains part of his plans,his body language when he has been asked the question is where all the juice is.
He has reached the end of his journey with Arsenal, what remains to be seen is whether his exit will be smooth or continue to slowly evolve into the drama piece that is gradually shaping up.
One thing though is clear, there is room for only one King at Arsenal and his name is Unai Emery.