Mesut Ozil 'Close to the red zone, not settled comfortably in London' - report

Just how much is Mesut Ozil struggling at Arsenal?

Mesut Ozil's season so far appears to polarise opinion. Heading into the weekend fans were praising him for making the most passes in the final third of the pitch than any player in the Premier League, but after the game against Liverpool the focus was on different statistics.

Ozil gave the ball away twice for Liverpool goals, and in the past 10 games for Arsenal he has just two assists and no goals.

The German is under serious pressure to produce, with pundits from Michael Owen to Alan Shearer criticising him in recent days with regard to his performances in big games, and even fans are concerned.

It may not be entirely as straightforward as the German being out of form however, with reports emerging he is struggling to reach peak physical condition amid the high intensity of the Premier League.

The Mail write in a report on Arsenal's title chances: 

"The manager is expected to make a couple of changes with the axe likely to fall on Nacho Monreal, while he must make a big decision about Mesut Ozil.

"Ozil was criticised for his contribution at Anfield and, according to the Arsenal medical team, he is close to the ‘red zone’ — when fatigue creeps in and players are more exposed to injury.

"The £42million signing from Real Madrid has not settled comfortably into life in London and despite an encouraging start has not been satisfied with his own recent form."

It's a worrying development as Arsenal head into a crucial run of games, and Arsene Wenger has to consider his options when it comes to dropping or playing the German.

Sometimes it is positive to keep playing a star like Ozil in their moments of poor form, because they possess the talent to play their way out of it. A player like the former Real Madrid man has the ability to make his presence felt in a single moment, even in a poor moment.

The problem comes with the concerns over the German's fitness. The match against Manchester United is not going to be one in which Ozil can 'take it easy', and is likely to come under pressure from midfield terrier Darren Fletcher throughout the game.

With important games against Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the FA Cup upcoming, Wenger can't afford a serious injury to his record signing.

The Premier League title race is finely poised however, and Arsenal can't afford to drop points.

The backlash if Arsenal lose without Ozil may be worse on Arsene Wenger than if they do with the German, who no doubt would cop the flak himself if so.

In light of the recent criticism, Ozil is bound to just want to get playing again and prove a point, and Wenger may well decide to rest him against Liverpool in the FA Cup at the weekend instead.

He has options, to play Jack Wilshere in Ozil's position, or play Santi Cazorla there and free up a space for Lukas Podolski on the left.

The insinuation Ozil is not settled in London is naturally worrying for all Arsenal fans, but you suspect once his form and fitness pick up, his mood will too - after all this is a player who wrote on social media in November 'I love Arsenal'.

Ozil wears his heart on his sleeve, and is often temperamental in defeat, a trait even Arsene Wenger carries. He has not had to experience it much early on in life at Arsenal, and he will hope to play a part in ensuring the club get all three points against United. 

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image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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