What a difference a week makes.
After a disappointing result against West Ham, Mesut Özil truly took the game by the scruff of the neck to inspire Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The German playmaker is often accused of letting the game pass him by, but was heavily involved throughout as Arsenal got their first win of the season.
Arsenal’s chief creator laid on no fewer than five chances as Arsenal were slightly wasteful in front of goal in south London.
Early on an Arsenal break saw Özil put Alexis Sánchez through on goal, but the Chilean couldn’t finish. When Özil crossed for Olivier Giroud 16 minutes in the ball did end up in the back of the net. The ball in from the German was, in truth, behind Giroud but a lovely piece of improvisation saw him volley home.
Another cross from the left saw Aaron Ramsey try a tidy finish, but he couldn’t beat the defender. Özil found Ramsey once more in the second half with a delicately weighted ball in the left half space, but the Welshman blasted over.
You want end product? Mesut Özil delivers it.
As the game progressed Özil was key maintaining Arsenal’s tempo, with Palace harrying us in possession. Somehow, the attacking midfielder completed a remarkable 98% of his 55 passes, misplacing a pass just once before being subbed off.
It wasn’t just the pass completion, but the decisions he made on the ball and the weight on every pass he played that was exemplary. This was a game that saw Mesut Özil well and truly stamp his authority all over it.
Arsène Wenger has demanded more goals from the German, and he is getting in the box more often than before. When not in possession he is prepared to stretch the opposition, and was in a position to follow up on chances a number of times but possession was unfortunately snuffed up by Palace’s defence.
Wenger praised Özil’s effort off the ball after the game and it’s no shock. He was always an option for his teammates when they needed one, and made selfless runs off it to open space up. Yahoo Cabaye and James McArthur never got to grips with him.
Five chances created, 98% pass completion, and he waltzed around as if he had been handed the freedom of Croydon.
When Özil is on song he gracefully dominates games, which is why he goes unmentioned. He plays at a world class level, but does so under the radar. That’s what makes him unplayable.