Craig Bellamy recently laid into Mesut Ozil after his performance for Germany against England because the playmaker ‘drives him up the wall’.
Bellamy gave a rather bizarre analysis of Ozil after Germany drew 0-0 with England during an international friendly on Friday. While most pundits were praising the playmaker’s solid performance, the former Manchester City and Liverpool forward laid into him.
“We know Ozil doesn’t run a lot, we know he doesn’t track back. He’s driving me up the wall every time I’m watching him,” Bellamy said.
“Yeah, [Harry] Maguire did well, do you know why? Because he kept running past [Ozil]. He didn’t want to track him back. It’ll be a better test for [Maguire] when he’s not playing against Ozil again because he’ll have someone who’ll actually work back against him.
“He was given responsibility in a key position today.
“If [Ilkay] Gundogan goes over to the left-hand side, you have to tuck in because you’re then playing the role of defensive midfielder. [Ozil is] walking into position.
“I thought he was so disappointing today with young players [around him]. I just think that as a World Cup winner, he could have taken more responsibility.
“We know there’s more, we’ve all seen more, and I just feel at this present moment that he’s not showing us what he’s capable of and it is annoying.”
Bellamy’s claim that the 29-year-old doesn’t run a lot is actually false. In fact, as we reported over the weekend, Ozil has completed the most sprints in the Premier League this season. 82. This is more than Aaron Ramsey (80), who Bellamy wanted to overtake the German in the pecking order at Arsenal two years ago.
Last season, Ozil ran the second-most out of any other Arsenal player, covering a total of 318.97km in the league. That’s more than Granit Xhaka (315.18km).
Nacho Monreal covered the most ground by far: 352.73km. Which is hardly surprising ’cause the dude is Mr. Reliable and will give everything for the team, even when others don’t.
Alexis ‘Work-Rate’ Sanchez had one of the best seasons of his career, scoring 30 goals across all competitions, and was consistently praised for never stopping. Yet he ran less than Ozil: 315.27km.
Therefore, while I recognise that Ozil hasn’t had the best season for the Gunners so far and he’s doesn’t appear to be doing as much work as he did when he first moved to north London, he’s far from lazy.