Just less than two years ago Arsenal spent £42.4m to bring Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid to the Emirates. The German became the clubs record signing and was a mark of intent from Arsenal and from Arsene Wenger. The gunners finally splashed the cash and signed a truly world class player.
Since he signed on, Ozil has been heavily criticized, sometimes rightfully sometimes harshly. His time in England started out well, but the second half of his first season saw him struggle. While the criticism may have been harsh at times, Ozil wasn’t as consistent as many wanted him to be. After a somewhat underwhelming first season, the second season was due to be fantastic for Ozil.
Coming off a World Cup victory people expected big things from his second season. It started off poorly as he seemed to be struggling with both a World Cup hangover like the one Per Mertesacker said he went through, and being played out of position on the wing. Then he started rounding into form in games against Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Galatasary. Unfortunately, he picked up a serious knee injury in the game at Stamford Bridge. Ozil then missed the next three months.
The German went through three months of rehab and focused on adding more muscle. He made his comeback as a substitute in January against Stoke City. He made his first start since his injury in the FA Cup and scored 24 minutes in. He kicked on from there and played some of his best football in an Arsenal shirt after his comeback. Based on the eye test, most people would say that Ozil has improved in his second season, and the stats would back that up.
The German has created more chances per 90 minutes this season, and he has completed more dribbles. Him regaining his ability to go past people has been key to him creating more chances and creating better chances this season. He has come up in big moments this season, whether it was the 4-1 win against Liverpool, the FA Cup semi final, or the cup final.
He has also stacked up well against the other top playmakers in the league. He made more key passes for 90 minutes than any other player in the Premier League (among players that have played more than 350 minutes).
Ozil is a player that splits opinion. Some think he doesn’t do enough, some think he does more than enough. Ozil’s style may not please everyone, but he is a very good player that creates chances for fun. He has shown in his second season, that he is a player that can be the main creator in a top team, even in the physical Premier League. He has shown his class regularly this season. If he plays at the level of his second half of the season for an entire season, the he will force people to see that he is worth his £42.4m price tag.