World class strikers around him? Check. Top class manager? Check. Magisterial left foot? Check. Hotel? Trivago.
Arsenal’s home game against Burnley on the 23rd of December marked the return of the World cup winning attacking midfielder after his exclusion from previous games due to a Back injury and tactical reasons. Mesut Özil’s eye of the needle vision this game was second to none, and his split- second ability to see plays before they even happen is why he is undisputably still one of the best playmakers in the world. Despite the presence of a 70s detective (Hector Bellerin) sitting in the stands, Mesut was the true investigator on the pitch against Burnley. After a bout of intricate passing and movement, he made the Burnley defenders look like Houdini as his inch perfect pass, which dazed and disoriented them, conveniently slotted into the feet of Sead Kolasinac, who then squared the ball into the efficient right foot of Aubameyang, scoring with a strike that oozed of class and efficiency. If this was a sign of good things to come from the German maestro, then things would only likely get even better.
The German magician has more class than a secondary school and made the Burnley defence more wishy-washy than a glass of water-filtered milk. As he tip toed his way through not one but three Burnley defenders, he executed a shot that, despite being deflected, was blessed by the German footballing gods, with the ball finding its way into the path of Alex Iwobi, who then pierced the hearts of the Burnley players with the dagger of defeat. In this instance, the beauty of football overwhelmed the pressures of the sports, as Mesut resonated with the football like a window pane upon hearing a certain frequency, vibrating back and forth, and Barnes was the fly banging against the window.
The strike partnership of Aubameyang and Lacazette is another reason why Mesut Özil could tear up the premier league. The former, currently the premier league top scorer with 12 premier league goals, thrives on through balls, and the German Maestro is the best in the current Arsenal squad at consistently tuning out fine forward passes like Mozart played violins. Moreover, Lacazette has been in rejuvenated form this season and statistics suggest he is the second best finisher in the world only behind Messi. If Mesut manages to retain his consistent form, there is no doubt that he will accumulate a heavy amount of assists for the two and emulate the season in which he almost broke Thierry Henry’s record of 21 assists.
This is why he, Özil, could rip up the premier league, but only with the condition that he maintains a consistency in form, which is more likely under Unai Emery because he has been able to effectively man manage Özil, despite media criticisms. It was evident in the game against Huddersfield that Arsenal lacked creativity in the final third to break down their hardened defence. After Özil’s magnificent performance against Burnley, it’s likely that Emery will no longer treat Özil as a cog of the Arsenal machine, but rather as a lethal weapon that can cause damage against the most stubborn of defences.
A month on from the Burnley game, and Özil has failed to live up to expectations, as he is no longer seen as a star player by Emery, and has hardly played in games due to his work rate. Everything seems to suggest that he will continue to be excluded from the starting lineup and is mostly likely to be sold in the next summer window. Nonetheless, the German playmaker still has the ability to change games and turn around Arsenal’s recently inconsistent form if he is given the right framework and chance to do so.