German newspaper and website Die Welt has criticised Mesut Ozil’s performance for Arsenal against Borussia Dortmund last night.
The German started wide again in Arsenal’s midfield and was barely in the game, as Arsene Wenger replaced him with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after little more than an hour.
Die Welt’s headline translates as ‘Ozil acts like a foreign body’, which is a fairly accurate description of the way he’s been playing in recent times for the Gunners.
However, for Arsenal to get more from him, he needs to move into a central position where the pressure is taken off of him to do extra defensive work in wide areas and in a role he’s not used to.
“At least Mesut Ozil was able to record an assist but still, it didn’t happen on the pitch but on the bench – as Ozil lent teammate Lukas Podolski his shin pads,” reports Die Welt.
“Ozil had been too ineffective – he was brought into an unpopular wing position and failed to materialise into the game.”
“The statistics for the German national player speak for themselves: No shot on goal, no template, of 17 passes, only 13 found their target.”
Arsenal now have three matches before they get the chance to get their Champions League campaign back on track.
Two of them are Premier League clashes and they both look difficult; Aston Villa away and the North London derby against Spurs at home.
Ozil can be a key figure in those games but he needs to be brought into his strongest position rather than be wasted in an area of the team where he doesn’t have the discipline to play a wide role.
If Wenger doesn’t feel that Ozil is currently in the right form to dislodge Jack Wilshere or Aaron Ramsey from the two central midfield positions then it’s arguably a better option to leave him on the bench.
However, if the boss can somehow find a way to work him into that number ten slot then he can turn big games. Similarly to Shinji Kagawa at Manchester United, it’s a mystery as to why he’s playing wide.