Arsenal are having another injury crisis, something they seem to be known for. They have a historic injury record in the Premier League era and it has become a real deterrent for the Gunners taking that next step as a Premier League power. This time the man bit by the injury bug is their record signing, Mesut Ozil. The World Cup winner picked up a severe knee injury that will reportedly keep him out of action for 10-12 weeks.
The German international has had a turbulent time since arriving from Real Madrid. Ozil seems to have struggled with the physicality of the Premier League and has had a tough time imposing himself on some of the bigger matches in his Arsenal career. All that said, his injury is no blessing in disguise and the Gunners will miss their German superstar during his time out with injury.
In the simplest way to put it, he is their best creator and, when played as a number 10, brings a huge amount to the Arsenal team that desperately need points. Ozil has created 14 chances in 2014-2015, more than any other Arsenal player this season. That is what you would expect from a player of his quality, but, considering all the criticism he has taken in the media, may surprise some. As an entire team the Gunners have not been particularly good this season. Sometimes they have got results they have not deserved and they have rarely been convincing this campaign. Not counting the Community Shield, they have only looked truly convincing in their victories over Aston Villa and Galatasaray. Arsenal’s record signing was instrumental in both of those matches running them like you would expect from a man that cost £42.5m.
Ozil’s injury could give other players the chance to step up, but, even if someone does step up, they likely won’t be able to do what the World Cup winner does. Some people are not a fan of the German’s languid style, but whether it’s with his movement, his play in the build up, or his eye for a killer pass, the 25 year old can always bring something special to the Arsenal team. As Arsene Wenger said, “You see a good Ozil when you watch the game again. Then you realise his timing, his quality of pass and sometimes you can be frustrated during the game but you must not overreact.”
Arsenal want Mesut Ozil to succeed and sitting on the treatment table is not going to help him do that. Despite playing poorly against Cheslea (which may have been because he was hurt), he was actually rounding into form prior to his injury. He had played really well in his last three game against Tottenham, Galatasaray, and Aston Villa. He was played as a number 10 in all of those matches and was showing that quality he did at Real Madrid and with Germany. The former Real Madrid man was finally being played as a number 10 and seemed to have recovered from his long World Cup campaign over the summer. Now Ozil will be out for a few months and they will have to integrate him back into the team around the turn of the year. The time on the treatment table can’t help him continue his adjustment to England it can only hurt him.
Whether people like to admit it or not, Ozil is instrumental to Arsenal’s success. He is a player with a huge amount of talent and that will be missed. The only real silver lining here is that the North London club have a relatively easy run of fixtures ahead of them. An injury to the most talented player in your squad is never a blessing and Ozil’s injury is no different.