While most Germans were celebrating their nation’s 1-0 World Cup quarter-final victory over France, the performance of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil left a bad taste in the mouth of one leading figure.
Former Germany World Cup winner Paul Breitner has not been too impressed with his nation’s World Cup performances up until now, singling out Ozil as a big weakness.
The Gunners’ record-signing has played every game for the Germans so far, but Breitner believes with Ozil it is akin to playing with a man less and called for coach Joachim Low to drop him from the XI.
“If Joachim Low is brave and says that he doesn’t want to play with just ten players, he will leave Mesut Ozil out of the next match,” he said in quotes published by Spanish newspaper AS.
“It would be a step towards the World Cup title and above all a step forward for the team. Nine players go out there and give everything for 90 minutes and one other does nothing but walk around on the pitch. At a World Cup, that can’t happen. Joachim Low has to come out of his shadow and give a reaction.”
It is quite a stinging attack on the 25-year-old, and from a statistical viewpoint, one could suggest it is completely unjust.
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According to Opta Stats, Ozil has outperformed his fellow teammates in a number of midfield-based categories.
On average depending on minutes involved, Andre Schurrle has netted the most goals although Ozil and Mario Gotze are just behind.
On creating chances, number of accurate passes and successful dribbles, however, the Arsenal man comes out on top as a clean winner, perhaps proving to be far more creative than Schurrle and Mario Gotze.
The most intriguing part of the criticism aimed at him is this perception that he just walks around the pitch, though as the statistics state, Ozil records on average four ball recoveries per game – more than his fellow attacking midfielders and thus illustrating his hard work off the ball.
The only area where he falls behind is his attempts on goal, but with the form of Thomas Muller and the goal-scoring instincts of Miroslav Klose, perhaps passing rather than shooting is the better option.
In summary, Low has so far gotten it right by sticking with the Arsenal man and he would be wise not to follow Breitner's advice.