On Tuesday, France Football offered a lengthy interview with Mesut Ozil about the Germany national team and Euro 2016 but also a few words about the Arsenal season as well.
How do you explain why your first of your three seasons at Arsenal was so difficult ?
“In August 2013, I was coming from Real Madrid where the football style was very different from the Arsenal one. It took me many months to get used to it. I had to get used to a new environment. I therefore think that it justifies the problem I encountered.
“The second season started really well but then I got injured. The key to my success this season has been the summer pre-season. For the first time since I have arrived, I have been able to train fully. And I was rewarded by playing a full season without physical problems, playing my best football so far here and being consistent.”
When things were not going your way, have you ever regretted choosing Arsenal?
“No, I never doubted that I had the capacity to be a success in the Premier League. Criticism and lack of form pushed me to work harder. I think I showed it to the whole world. I have learnt that sometimes you have some down moments. When I don’t play as well as I should, I stay cool, while working twice as hard in training. Thanks to my perseverance, I have definitely improved.”
Did you have to modify certain aspects of your game in the Premier League?
“Let’s say that I changed some important details. For example, my body language. In the old time, after missing a chance or a pass, I would put my head down and would replay the action over my head. Now I keep my head up and I try to make amend for my mistake.
“The game is so quick that there is no time to whinge. A mistake must not put me out of my game. I have become very aware of this.”
Did you have to gain more muscle as well?
“Yes, it was an essential part to be able to win duels. I go to the gym after training. I also do the ice bath to improve the blood circulation.”
Do you enjoy your football now in Premier League?
“On the pitch, I always enjoy the experience. I am lucky enough to be playing in the best League in the world and be a starter in one of the best English team. You can have a lot of pleasure playing the Premier League, you just need to be in perfect physical shape.”
This season you ended up number one in assists with 16 and six goals, one assist away from Thierry Henry’s record. In the end, do you prefer assisting or scoring?
“It’s true that I deliver more assists than I score goals, it’s my job. Sometimes where some players would prefer to shoot, I will choose the pass, it gives me as much joy as shooting. I am not an egoistic player.”
Every season it is the same tune: Arsenal plays well. But there is no title or even Champions league quarter-final. What is your explanation for this?
“In the Champions League, except last season when we drew Monaca, we always get Barca or Bayern in the last 16. However in the League, we can only blame ourselves. We have lost too many points because of a lack of concentration. We were at 100% and we did not develop our game the way we wanted it to be.”
Is your relationship with Arsene Wenger similar to the one with Joachim Löw?
“Those two men are a rare exception of managers who stay in their jobs for a long time.
“At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has shown that he was one of the best manager in the football history. He has revolutionised the club and acquired a huge trophy list.
“I am proud and grateful to be working with such a coach. His simple philosophy really enticed me when the question of my future came in 2013. He chose the perfect words to sign me.
“Wenger’s biggest strength is he knows how to speak to players.”