The Arsenal playmaker admits that he found his debut season in England tough.
Mesut Ozil was an instant hit in the Premier League. Having joined Arsenal from Real Madrid on transfer deadline-day last summer for a reported fee of £42.5 million, the Germany international took to English football like duck to water.
The midfielder’s performances for the Gunners gave the fans renewed hope that this time they will go all the way and win the league title. The marquee signing that the supporters have been waiting for so long was delivering the goods, and things were looking very rosy.
However, the 25-year-old’s performances dipped at the turn of the year and he also picked up injuries. That coincided with Arsenal starting to lose the plot, and in mid-March it was pretty much clear that once again they will be fighting for the prized fourth spot.
Ozil’s stats in the first half of the season:
Ozil’s stats in the second half of the season:
It shouldn’t have really come as a surprise that Ozil was struggling after Christmas. After all, this was the first time in his career that he was playing football without having a mid-season break. Both in Germany and in Spain, he was used to having at least two weeks off during the festive period, but in England matches came thick and fast.
That took its toll on Ozil, who started to suffer injuries. Moreover, the pace of the Premier League and the competitive nature of the teams took the German by surprise, and he has now admitted that he did struggle to cope with the English game.
‘We had many matches’, The Mirror quotes him as saying. ‘The pace was massive. The matches were exhausting. Always forward and backwards... It was the first time that I did not have a break in the winter. It was the first time I had a muscle injury’.
But all’s well that ends well. Ozil has recovered from his hamstring injury just in time for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Hull City. If he can lead the Gunners to their first trophy success in nine years, then he will forever be a hero to the fans.