Does former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen really have it in for Arsenal?
Michael Owen is if nothing else consistent. As long ago as 12 years back he destroyed Arsenal's FA Cup hopes with a double in the 2001 final.
Now he is a football pundit and co-commentator and appears determined to rubbish the Gunners at any given opportunity.
He predicted they would finish fifth before the Premier League season began, and even recently with Arsenal topping the table he insisted he stands by his prediction, confident Liverpool and Manchester United will pip them to fourth spot.
Just yesterday on SportLobster, a website in which he has an investment in, he elaborated on that prediction, explaining he believes Mesut Ozil is too inconsistent to lead Arsenal to win the Premier League title.
He wrote: “It is against the big boys where I think they could struggle as, in my opinion, they don't have the class of player to go toe to toe with the main title contenders. Despite people constantly telling me that Mesut Ozil is world class, his inconsistency means that we only see occasional glimpses of real quality. His odd good performance is usually followed by half a dozen poor ones.”
The comments were picked up on by several national newspapers, which Owen claimed twisted his words on Twitter, before being drawn into a row with Gunners fan Piers Morgam who described him as a 'tool'.
To give Owen's comments a little perspective, Ozil is in his first season in England and has only really had two poor displays - away at Manchester United when he was claimed to be ill after the game, and away to Manchester City at the weekend.
It's possible to derive from those two games how Ozil generated his perspective regarding big games - and the German has the perfect opportunity to prove the doubters wrong when Arsenal take on Chelsea on Monday.
To look at the wider view, Ozil leads the Premier League in assists with seven - despite missing the first three games of the season. In all competitions for Arsenal he has five goals and nine assists, and it's hard to bet against him doubling those tallies between now and the end of the season.
Owen's comments will naturally have got the backs up of several Arsenal fans, but were there any which agreed? We took to Twitter to take a look and here is a cross-section of the reaction:
To some extent I agree with benchwarmer Owen, dt Ozil alone cannot lead arsenal to glory, we need a prolific striker.— dR Okafor Solomon (@sodyOka4) December 18, 2013
Owen "Ozil's odd good performance is followed by 1/2 a dozen poor ones" An appearance from Owen was usually followed by a 6 month injury— Adäm Ali (@adamali07) December 18, 2013
Michael Owen saying he doesn't believe Ozil is world class, wow. Boys just as bad a pundit as he was at staying fit. Outrageous thing to say— George Murphy (@george__murphy) December 18, 2013
How can Michael Owen possibly accuse Ozil of inconsistency - he barely strung two consecutive performances together after Liverpool.— geoff lester (@geofflester) December 18, 2013
Michael Owen calling Ozil a flop as if he did anything worth for R. Madrid. The irony in this story almost choked me to death.— Wizard of Öz (@ThatguyDavy) December 18, 2013
Michael Owen won the EPL once, scoring twice in the season, so he's an expert on Ozil etc— Gooner aka RambÖ (@WengerWeTrust1) December 18, 2013
Owen did get some support though... From Liverpool fans:
http://t.co/F4LTovjQ18 Absolutely agree with Owen here. Ozil is overrated by Arsenal fans.— SM22 (@AlonsoLpool) December 18, 2013
Owen is right about Ozil. Didn't even realise he was on the pitch in the last few games. He's been non-existent against the big teams.— Sean Evans (@Sean_Evans93) December 18, 2013
image: © michael,kjaer