Martin Keown has continued to lay into Mesut Ozil and believes he doesn’t want to be at Arsenal.
Of all the players to receive criticism after Arsenal’s defeat at Stoke, we didn’t think it’d be Mesut Ozil.
Okay, so that’s a bit of a lie. The German can’t do anything without somebody laying into him, and despite having a decent game on Saturday, both Steven Gerrard and Martin Keown had strong words about him.
It was after the match that Keown described Ozil as “going through the motions”. He’s now followed up on that with a column in the Daily Mail, where he calls Ozil a luxury player and makes a number of bizarre points about him.
“Mesut Ozil is the most frustrating player I’ve seen wear an Arsenal shirt,” Keown said. “He is an icing-on-the-cake player — someone who is happy to create the chances to win matches but will not scrap and fight for the team.”
If Ozil is the most frustrating player Keown has ever seen, I’d like to know what he thought of Gervinho or Emmanuel Eboue, or what he thinks of Danny Welbeck or Theo Walcott.
I’m also having a hard time working out why a player “happy to create chances to win the game” is a bad thing at all. That’s better than player who doesn’t make chances, isn’t it?
Keown continues: “Ozil is an expensive luxury — but if he is not going to work hard out of possession then he must do so when he has the ball.
“Why isn’t he running at players with menace and asking questions of them? It’s not enough just to be out there — he needs to be controlling games.”
Ozil completed 92 out of 99 passes against Stoke, which is a success rate of 93%. Four of those passes led to shots. No other player in the match had the same influence on the ball.
Moreover, Ozil has never been a player to ‘run at people with menace’, and why that’s suddenly an expectation of him is beyond me.
Keown finishes with: “Ozil has not yet signed a contract so we must assume he does not want to be at the club.
“But if he is just trying to see out his time at Arsenal, that is going to be a long year for all involved. He must forget about himself, give his all for the fans and the club and then go gracefully.”
The key phrase here is ‘not yet’. Negotiations have been difficult, but there’s nothing stopping the German international from signing a new contract during the season. The player himself has said that he wants to be at Arsenal, so why the doubt?
Ozil wasn’t amazing against Stoke, but he wasn’t the liability some are trying to make him out to be, either. He’s called a luxury player, yet at the same time he’s the most creative player Arsenal has and has a clear influence on the way the team plays.
The Gunners can’t do without him and would be hammered if they lost him, but now of all of a sudden we can’t afford to carry him and should let him move on. The inconsistency is maddening.