ÖZIL’S THE REAL DEAL

What a bag of mixed results lately. We started December with that frustrating loss to Man Utd and it seems to have affected us mentally more than anything else. It was followed by a 1-1 draw against Southampton and a goalless draw against West Ham last night. Looking at the fixture list, you expect a team fighting for a finish in the top 4 to win these games.

What has been great to see from all these games is the way Mesut Özil has been playing. It’s been a series of games really, starting from the win against Spurs at home and it has continued since, which is always a good thing to happen. But it brings the question of whether or not he will be here with us next season. There are only 6 months left on his contract and to extend his contract and keep him for another 3 or 4 years has to be the our priority.

There have been reports lately suggesting that the club has in fact made him an offer and that he’s close to signing the deal – I really don’t know how the media can say that he is close to signing the contract. No one can really tell what’s on a person’s mind – unless you’re a mind reader. Journalists may as well try that as they’re really poor at their jobs especially when it comes to Arsenal. (Kudos to the Arsenal twitter admin for that cup of tea!)

Getting back to Mesut, he is the creative force in this Arsenal team, isn’t he? Without him in the team, we seem to lack that creative spark. There is always that anticipation when Özil gets the ball around the box. He has always been someone who will look for that perfect pass and make it only when he feels he will be successful, otherwise he will try and build the game again. He is somebody who will not take risks unnecessarily.

It is really hard to replace players who have these attributes as gifts. It is hard to teach a player to see a pass and then complete it; completing a pass can come with practice, but I think, seeing a pass – not many can do it which makes players of this kind hard to replace. Remember how we struggled to replace Cesc Fabregas, who is outstanding with his range of passes. It is difficult to replace someone like a Mesut than to replace someone like an Alexis.

What I have also noticed is Özil’s work rate. Not that I was one of those to call Mesut lazy, he has always covered a good amount of ground each game, but he seems to be running more, putting in tackles, winning the ball and getting the team going again. I remember, in the game against Soton, he made a last man tackle to prevent a Soton player (don’t exactly remember who he was- Boufal, maybe?) going clear 1v1 against Cech in the last 5 mins of the game. His tackle led to a Soton corner but his desire to not let him through was pleasantly striking. It also feels like he drops in deeper to collect the ball and dictates play more often than not lately.

Özil really has been that shining light for us in the past few weeks of frustration. He gives you a feeling that he wants to fight for the team and wants us to succeed. To find players of his ilk and class is not an easy task and hence all the efforts need to be made to keep him here at Arsenal. I pray to god that he signs the contract that we’ve offered him and we get to see more wizardry from the Öz. Sign da ting, Mesut!

Ya Gunners Ya!

 

 

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Kshitij Gokhale

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