Should Ozil be Dropped by Arsene Wenger?

Should Ozil be Dropped by Arsene Wenger?

Another season, same old Arsenal has become a cliche.  Out of the title race and all but out of the Champions League in the R-16 stage for the seventh year running. The standout performer for Arsenal this season has been Alexis Sanchez without a shadow of a doubt and by some distance. There has also been growing concerns about their other talisman, Mesut Ozil.

Ozil this season has been a mere shadow of his former self. Often looking disinterested, jaded and tired. Arsene Wenger raised concerns about his form and even seriously considered dropping the German against Bayern but the Frenchman stuck by his man and played him. Yet another big game and Ozil failed to make a mark. His defensive work rate is not the best by any stretch of the imagination but watching Arjen Robben run past and score a worldie while Ozil just stood there like a mannequin in training was absolutely shocking. He made no effort to tackle or even track his run for that matter. He’s often been criticised for the same but he makes up for it with his assists. This season he’s got 9 goals and 7 assists in all competitions as opposed to his 9 goals and 20 assists in the previous campaign.

Ozil started the 2016-17 campaign brightly, registering 9 goals and 6 assist between August and December. Since the turn of the year, he has only one assist in five matches and he hasn’t scored a goal. His last goal was against Stoke on he 10th of December in the Premier League – that’s a run of 8 games without a goal, clearly struggling for confidence. He faced a similar dip in form towards the second half of last season where he only registered 4 assists, having got 16 before the new year.

Let’s compare Ozil with his team mates.

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Stats suggest he is still creating more chances than anyone else in his team with 2.85 chances a game. He still makes the highest number of passes and with a pass completion of 87%.

Here’s an interesting stat though. Ozil created 2.7 chances per game in the first half of the season and he has created 3.3 chances per game since the new year. Going by this stat, he’s still their main man in terms of creating chances but what value do they bring if they’re not finished off? Are his team mates to blame for his dip? Possibly. It is no coincidence that Ozil’s drop in form runs parallel with Arsenal’s decline.

Does he need an arm around his shoulders? Possibly. Critics often point out the fact that the German goes missing in big matches. Really? When have Arsenal collectively as a team, turned up against any big side? Ozil is often made a scapegoat because he is MESUT OZIL.  His agent Erkut Sogut recently defended his client in an interview to BBC Sport.

Mr. Sogut went on to say that criticism is fine, but the club’s record signing feels like he’s been made the chief culprit.

“Criticism is normal if a player plays badly. But Mesut feels people are not focusing on his performance; they are using him as a scapegoat for the team after bad results. Bayern had 74% possession. How can someone in the No.10 position create chances if you don’t have the ball? In these games people usually target a player who cost a lot of money and earns a lot of money – that is Mesut. But he can’t be always be the scapegoat. That’s not fair. Football is a team sport and Arsenal are not performing well as a team. Eleven players were on the pitch but Mesut was singled out for criticism.”

He makes a fair comment. It is also worth pointing out that Ozil made more tackles (5) against Bayern than their defensive midfielders, Xhaka and Coquelin.

On to the bigger question again, Should Ozil be dropped? If we’re going by the numbers, the answer would be a resounding NO! And the numbers show that there isn’t anyone worthy in that Arsenal squad to replace him in that position either.