In both Germany and England Mesut Özil has received plenty of criticism since his move to Arsenal.
You know the kind of thing I mean. ‘He’s lazy’ or ‘he doesn’t influence games enough’ or ‘he doesn’t care’.
Germany’s World Cup success a year ago was preceded and followed by FA Cup Final wins for Özil, who will be aiming even higher this year. He celebrated all three wins with Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker, who has defended the playmaker and blamed the perception of him in the English media for his troubling times with German fans.
“In Germany there are often only small parts of our games aired on TV or the opinions of English journalists are simply accepted,” Mertesacker told transfermarkt.de.
“Mesut is a key player for us. He was in the last season and he will be the same in the season ahead.”
There is a pretty clear correlation between Özil’s fitness and Arsenal’s results since he joined the club in 2013, and it stacks up in favour of the World Cup winner. There is certainly an argument that he could score more goals but he creates a hell of a lot.
Quite simply he makes Arsenal tick. More often than not he plays a key role in an attacking move, even if he is not playing what the numbers call the ‘key pass’. Last Sunday at Wembley it was Özil who opened up the field for Arsenal to score, exploiting the gaps Chelsea had left as they looked to cover Arsenal’s left wing.
Theo Walcott played the final pass but, make no mistake, Mesut Özil made it happen. He so often does.