Mesut Ozil is finished they said with authority but against Manchester United on Wednesday night, the German made a lot of people eat a lot of words.

Mikel Arteta has only been in charge of Arsenal for two games but in that time we have seen more purpose and desire from Mesut Ozil than under the majority of Unai Emery’s charge.

That’s not surprising.

 

It’s hard to put in any effort for someone who clearly doesn’t like you, doesn’t rate you, and wants you to do things you’re just not designed for.

Unai Emery’s approach with Ozil was akin to playing Bernd Leno on the wing only to get annoyed when he couldn’t beat a man in training.

The mood shift across the Arsenal squad has been seismic and ridiculously quick since Emery’s sacking. When he arrived, we were told he’d probably need three or four windows to get Arsenal playing the way he wanted.

Arteta has had two weeks, a defensive injury crisis and back-to-back games against Chelsea and Manchester United over the Christmas period with hardly a break in between, yet somehow he has already found a way to free Mesut Ozil’s mercurial talents once again.

Arteta knows

Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta (R) celebrates scoring a penalty with Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) for his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park in south London on October 26, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON
October 26, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON

Mesut Ozil is talent that needs to be unlocked. Not all are. Lionel Messi, for instance. But some people in this world need to feel loved before they can perform at their best and it is something Ozil has acknowledged in himself previously.

Could Ozil have done more over the past 18 months to help himself? Most definitely, but when you consider what was happening in his personal world and the fact that he had specifically signed for Arsenal because of Arsene Wenger, is it any wonder he found himself somewhat distracted during Emery’s first season?

He started pre-season ahead of this campaign like a man with a point to prove but Emery had already made his decision.

Emery took a sledgehammer to a Stradivarius violin and then complained it was the instrument’s fault he couldn’t get a tune.

Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, has picked up the fragile violin with a gentle, yet firm hand and reminded it of what it was made for. It was not, like Unai Emery seemed to believe, put on this earth to enable silence.

It is here to make music like few others can.