An Ode to Mesut Özil by a True Madridista

With the boredom of the International break slowly drawing to a much awaited end, we’ve decided to treat you fellow gunners to a post on our newest signing, Mesut Özil, from long time Madridista and true football connoisseur – Vishal Bhartia. Follow him on twitter here. As we face the tantalizing prospect of watching MÖ11 slide defence splitting passes through to Giroud on Saturday, here’s a little teaser on what to expect from our German playmaker. Enjoy!

The famous saying in football goes “goals win you games” and that is why the market always overpays for attackers who score plenty of goals; eg Ronaldo, Cavani, Falcao, Ibra, Torres etc. What with players who create these goals for attackers becoming a scarcity; players like Mesut Ozil are worth much more than any attacker for me. They don’t get half the credit they deserve but have an equally important role to play in the team, if not even more.

Ozil provided 84 assists, officially, in the last 3 seasons alone for club and country. Scoring 40 goals for club and country in the last 3 seasons as well is not a bad tally for a player who does not like to shoot, simply speaking. If a striker had those many goals in those three seasons he would be considered one of the best. These stats are second to none to any midfielder let alone a genuine number ’10.’

His unbelievable stats only tell you half the story of how consistent he is and how his game has remarkably improved. He seems to keep growing as a player, which fans and managers love to see. His decision making seems even better and he even started taking free kicks last season for Madrid ahead of Ronaldo. That just shows us as a player, how confident he is about his own abilities. To take a free kick ahead of Ronaldo and that too in the dying minutes of a UCL game to rescue a point and keep the unbeaten home record alive is quite brave.He did this again in the league versus Vallodolid as well a week later in case you were wondering this was a one-time hit.

The Start of M1Ö..

After a good 2010 World Cup, Mourinho decided to buy Özil and his German compatriot, Khedira. He was pretty much an unknown quantity as he had only played a couple of seasons for Schalke and Bremen. Madrid signed him for 15m Euros, which can be considered a real bargain now and has turned out to be one of the few players who Madrid have made a profit on by selling.

He was seen as a bit of a pushover and a player who could not shield the ball well. As the years have gone by, he has learnt to shield the ball really well and not lose control of it which makes him very adept at keeping possession in tight situations.

Here is a beautiful example of what I mean by sublime ball control.

Just ask the Atleti players if you have any more doubts

Ozil’s biggest strength which will help players like Giroud, Walcott, Podolski and Cazorla, is his unselfishness. He simply refuses to shoot the ball (not because he can’t score) but because he rather lay it off for a team-mate and there is always someone in a better position in his mind. Ronaldo may have scored some cracking goals for Madrid, but 27 times (officially), Ozil had laid the ball on plate for him to slot it into the back of the net. I have watched Madrid play several times and yes Ronaldo and others catch my eye, but it truly is a pleasure to watch Mesut play. He has quite a bit of flair and he can execute it successfully which makes it all the more attractive. Ozil can literally pass the ball in any possible manner – a back heel lay off, outside of the foot cross, feint and pass the other way etc. you name it and he has it in his arsenal of passing.

You can take a look here and here (0:28), for an understanding of what I am referring to.

Ray Hudson and Phil Schoen affectionately call him “avatar eyes” and trust me, those eyes help him look at almost impossible passing angles. He is always a couple steps ahead of the defenders. With Walcott’s pace similar to Ronaldo’s, I think Arsenal can become very deadly on the counter. Ozil thrives on the counter attack more than unlocking parked buses because of Jose making Madrid play like that for the last few years.

With the German connection, Ozil should settle into Arsenal smoothly although it will be interesting to see how Wenger fits in all his central midfielders. Ozil will be the focal point of the team according to me just as he is for Germany where he scores more goals also.

Dressing Room Bromance

Ozil was one of the few players who connected well with both the Spanish side and International side of players in the Madrid dressing room. That is why there has been such an outcry about his departure from all the players. He is a very humble guy and does not say much publicly and is always very respectful. Even though Kaka left the same day as Mesut -Ronaldo, Ramos and Arbeloa only spoke about how disappointed they were about Ozil leaving. That says quite a bit about his personality and what his peers think about him. Ramos even went on to post a video of him and Ozil. Hopefully Mesut can continue his bromance with Lukas, Per or some Spanish player at Arsenal.


I genuinely don’t think Ozil has any real weakness other than the odd quiet game. Overall his consistency over the last 3 years is second to none at Madrid. He may not score so many goals but then again when he was at Madrid, he had Higuain, Benzema and Ronaldo ahead of him; so that was not required. People have blamed him for not tracking back and lacking stamina but I just think the media always tried to find a scapegoat for a loss or a poor team performance. He provided Ronaldo with so many important assists in the big games which went unnoticed (the 1-2 away win at Nou Camp was by far the best of the lot). For Germany, he was very rarely subbed off so it’s not like he lacks fitness. At Madrid, since there were so many players vying for first team action, I felt the manager would rotate Ozil the most.

The only weakness related to Ozil, is his father in my opinion, who must have asked Madrid for a salary increase every year. I agree that he deserved a better salary in comparison to Ronaldo’s, but pushing for it like that and being stubborn about it causes a friction between the club and the player which has long term affects. I think this is one of the possible reasons Perez was willing to sell him.

Ozil’s arrival at Arsenal is not only going to have a sporting but economic impact as well. People are saying Arsenal is back and teams may fear them now etc. etc. This just shows how highly regarded Ozil is and the way he has been welcomed by the Arsenal players shows us the positive impact he already has had. Arsenal fans are optimistic again.

I know I have only praised Ozil pretty much but as a player that’s how highly I regard him and think how much of a mistake Madrid has made selling him. Arsenal have got themselves a terrific player who plays for the team and not himself. I am giving Gooners plenty of reasons to be happy and Ozil not an inch of space to maneuver but then again who am I fooling this is easy for him.

As a Madridista I am truly sad about Ozil leaving but would like to wish him all the luck and hope to see him in Madrid in a few years.

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